From the islands of New York harbor to the depths of the subway system, Untapped Cities’ behind-the-scenes tours show you a new side of New York City. This week, discover the history of Governors Island and see how it has been renovated for modern leisure, gain exclusive entry into spectacular interiors like the lobby of the Woolworth Building and the Stanford White designed Players club on Gramercy Park and see all of the ways you can rediscover your city with us this week!
Tuesday, July 9th
Photograph by Jochen Enderlin
- Special Access inside the Woolworth Building, which is normally off-limits to the public
- Learn about the history of the building, how it was created and has been restored over the years
- Visit the spectacular “cathedral-esque” lobby and mezzanine of the building, nicknamed the “Cathedral of Commerce”
- Explore the cellar level where you will see an abandoned bank vault and entrances that once had direct access to the NYC subway
- Contemplate many Art Deco details including the gorgeous mailboxes and elevators
Wednesday, July 10th
- 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.
Saturday, July 13th
- Discover the island’s early history, from Henry Hudson to the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. Governors Island was actually the first true New Amsterdam!
- Find out how the Dutch used the island in the 1600’s and the complications encountered with the natives.
- Learn the military history of the Island’s 3 forts, military housing and administration buildings. Governors Island was the longest running military base in U.S. history, from 1794 to 1996. Fort Jay and Castle Williams specifically hold many secrets that will be revealed on this tour!
- See the present and future of the Island awhile traversing the beautiful gardens cared for by the Trust for Governors Island and learning about the sustainable efforts of new organizations that call the 172-acre park home.
- Explore the Hills! The Hills were designed by a Dutch firm in 2016 and provide sweeping views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and lower Manhattan.
- 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
Photograph by Jochen Enderlin
- Explore City Hall Park as the birthplace of the NYC subway system, including elements of the famed, decommissioned City Hall Station you can see right in the park
- Learn about the comically short route of the mythical “Subway before the Subway,” Alfred Ely Beach’s Pneumatic Transit System
- See the architectural ghosts of the now nearly forgotten, and partially abandoned, Chambers Street station then nicknamed the “Grand Central of Downtown”
- Use the 6 train as your own time machine as you ride through abandoned subway stations
- Discover the remnants of Union Station as you learn about a hidden art installation thousands of riders walk by everyday
- Learn about the secrets of one of NYC’s most iconic buildings
- See Grand Central’s hidden tennis courts
- Peek into the entrance of the glass walkways
- Learn about the design flaw as large as Grand Central Terminal‘s main atrium
- Discover a multi-million dollars jewel hidden in plain sight and more!
Sunday, July 14th
- Explore the early Dutch era maritime history through the stories of infamous sea captains Adrian Block and William Kidd
- Walk the less-charted trail along the historic east side slips including Old Slip and Coenties
- Learn about New York’s old buried ships on both the Hudson and East River shores and New York’s old floating churches
- Discover other related sites including the International Merchant Marine Building, The Cunard Building, the Alexander Hamilton Custom House and a stop at the stunning Merchant Marine Memorial by the historic Pier A building
- Visit South Street Seaport for the history of this unique museum, its historic ships and unparalleled views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline
- Hear about the massive civic project that transformed a wasteland into an urban pleasure ground
- Learn about the curious origins of the Central Park Zoo and the corruption scandal that caused a riot
- Uncover the hidden meaning in Bethesda Terrace’s sculptures and the forbidden love that inspired the park’s most famous statue
- See the secret bolt left behind from the creation of Manhattan’s street grid
- Discover the secret navigational device that keeps pedestrians from getting lost on the park’s winding paths