Every week Untapped Cities brings you exclusive access to New York City’s most iconic locations and off-limits sites. Go inside a member’s only social club, don a hard hat and explore an abandoned hospital, join a free tour of Brooklyn’s latest waterfront park, and discover more ways to see the city this week with Untapped Cities tours and events!
Wednesday, October 17th
Gain exclusive access to the Players Club on Gramercy Park on this tour led by a Players Club docent. The Players club, a members only social club, was founded in 1889 by Edwin Booth, one the most renowned American actors of the 19th century, along with fifteen friends and colleagues including Mark Twain and General William T. Sherman. Today’s notable members include Jimmy Fallon, Ethan Hawke and Tommy Lee Jones, whose portraits hang in the club’s grand staircase.
- Learn about the history of the Club and its members
- Visit the room in which actors met secretly in 1913 to form the Actors Equity Association, and walk inside Edwin Booth’s bedroom, where you can find the skull that was used in his famous 100 consecutive performances of Hamlet
- Visit the Hampden-Booth Theatre Library, which contains a vital collection of books, plays, theatre magazines and other artifacts of 19th and early 20th century American and British theatre history
- View the Players Club’s impressive art collections, including portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Edwin’s theater costumes, and more
- Get a close look at Mark Twain’s poker table.
New Domino Park with Domino Refinery in behind. Photo by Daniel Levin
In 2004, after 148 years of operation, the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, closed and the public has since reclaimed the waterfront access once blocked by the 90,000-square-foot industrial complex. The newly opened Domino Park pays tribute to the area’s industrial past while offering a vibrant new outdoor space for the community to enjoy. On this tour, explore this new public space while uncovering the history of Williamsburg, from how it’s original layout was shaped, through its industrial boom to the future of the Refinery building.
- Stroll along Domino Park’s elevated walkway
- Learn the history of the Domino Sugar Factory building and the sugar refining process
- See leftover artifacts from the refinery including a 36-foot tall syrup tank
- Find out what’s in store for the future of the refinery building
- Take in panoramic views of the East River from the 1200 foot-long waterfront esplanade
Friday, October 19th
Attend a panel discussion on the future of Governors Island organized with Michael Samuelian, President of the Trust for Governors Island and Amy Plitt, Editor of Curbed NY. This special event is part of Archtober, a month long series of events celebrating design and architecture all over New York City. Samuelian and Plitt will discuss the future of this unique resource for the City and the vision for a year-round, 24/7 Governors Island. The island has a long and rich history, including its vital role in the American Revolution due to its strategic location. Today, the Island’s spectacular views of Manhattan, open green spaces, historic landmarks and fun activities, make it a perfect destination for a day trip to escape the daily grind of the city. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this event for free, courtesy of Untapped Cities’ partnership with Archtober! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today and access free behind-the-scenes tours and events in New York City all year long!
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Saturday, October 20th
The Loew’s Valencia Theater opened its doors on January 12, 1929, the first of five flagship “Wonder” theaters opened by the Loew’s chain in and around New York City during the late 1920s. Explore this opulent movie palace in Jamaica, Queens, now home to the Tabernacle of Prayer for All, on a special visit with Untapped Cities Insiders. Sit in the Valencia’s 3500-seat theater and hear the history of this stunning landmark from the church’s pastoral secretary Sister Forbes. After the talk, guests will have time to walk around freely and photograph the space, with staff on hand to answer any additional questions. You can join this free tour if you are become an Untapped Cities Insider.
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- Explore the over 100-year-old contagious disease hospital, which has been abandoned since 1954
- See an exhibition by the world-renowned artist JR, who has placed life-sized historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants on interior walls of the hospital buildings
- Visit the Laundry Building, where 3000+ pieces of laundry were washed and sanitized daily
- Discover the kitchen, autopsy room and other usually off-limits places
- Get special access inside the original morgue and long abandoned FBI offices
Sunday, October 21st
While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall. Looking at its desolate, skeletal frame now, it’s difficult to imagine its backstory as one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. Join us for our upcoming hard hat tour, guided by a Save Ellis Island docent, where we’ll uncover its many, buried secrets. Guest will visit the contagious disease wards, the autopsy rooms and have exclusive access to places usually closed to the public on this hard hat tour.