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The laying of the cornerstone at Bloomingdale’s in 1930. Image via New York Times

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today:

  • Does Time Capsule Hold a Ball Signed by Babe Ruth? They’ll Know in 2130 [The New York Times]: A treasure, possibly worth half a million dollars, may lie behind a granite slab at the base of the Bloomingdale’s flagship store in Manhattan, just a few feet from a window displaying designer handbags: a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. On April 23, 1930, according to several newspaper accounts, the ball and some other valuable items were entombed in a cornerstone there. Untapped Cities was mentioned in this article for our rediscovery of the capsule—read the article by Laurie Gwen Shapiro here!
  • How researchers used NYC buildings to measure the 1925 solar eclipse [6sqft]: During a total solar eclipse that occurred in 1925 in Manhattan, according to Space.com, “the streetlights turned on, three women fainted, vendors sold smoked glass while exhorting passersby to ‘save your eyes for 10 cents’ and seagulls landed in the water, assuming it was night.” Though today’s eclipse will be only a partial version for New Yorkers, we know enough about the moon’s orbit to accurately predict an eclipse’s timing as narrowly as a city block’s distance.
  • African-American Graves from 1858 Rediscovered and Restored at Green-Wood [DNA Info]: High school students have unearthed and restored a dozen long-forgotten19th century graves of free African Americans buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. The graves date back to 1858 in what once was “The Colored Lots” for free African Americans. But because the plots were the cemetery’s most affordable option at the time, they lacked a foundation to support the headstones, which gradually sank into the earth — disappearing with little trace.
  • Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City [Bloomberg Businessweek]: Before a single raindrop fell, Alan Leidner knew the waters could rise and throw the city into darkness. On this point, the maps were as clear as a crystal ball. All you had to do was look. It was 2010, and Leidner was consulting for the government services company Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., contracted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical infrastructure. Leidner was examining a region that included New York.

Today’s popular Untapped Cities reads:

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