Every week Untapped Cities offers New Yorkers the opportunity to rediscover your city with a host of behind-the-scenes tours and special events. This week, mingle with the top brass of the Queens Museum as you explore the giant Panorama of New York City, uncover the hidden treasures of Grand Central Terminal, explore a colonial burial ground and more! Check out everything going on this week:
Tuesday, August 13th
Get an in-depth look at a unique remnant of the 1964/1965 World’s Fair, the giant Panorama of the City of New York, inside the Queens Museum! Join the museum’s Registrar and Archives Manager and resident World’s Fair expert Louise Weinberg for a talk that will reveal all of the fascinating stories of the museum’s past. After a brief Q&A, Insiders will go inside the gallery of the Panorama of the City of New York, a giant 3-D model of all five boroughs of New York City. You will also get to meet the Queens Museum’s new director Sally Tallant! You can join this free event if you are an Untapped Cities Insider! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain free access to behind-the-scenes tours and special events all year long!Already a member? Book here!
Join members of the Center for Jewish History and Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society, Annie Polland, for a special evening celebrating the birthday of poet Emma Lazarus. Born on July 22, 1849, Lazarus is best known for writing The New Colossus, the poem emblazoned on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. This twilight tour will pass by the gorgeous brownstone home where she wrote her most famous poem, the art studios and publication houses of her literary friends, and the almost-hidden cemetery of her family’s congregation. Along the way, Annie Polland, will tell the story of this gifted and fascinating woman and the changing city that inspired and motivated her. We’ll end at the Center for Jewish History, where we’ll see Emma Lazarus’s handwritten manuscript of The New Colossus, and celebrate her life with birthday cake. You can join this event for free if you are an Untapped Cities Insider!Already a member? Book here!
Saturday, August 17th
Photograph by Jochen Enderlin
Untapped Cities is excited to offer this exclusive tour of the normally off-limits Woolworth Building led by building architect Cass Gilbert’s great granddaughter, Helen Post Curry, who runs the Woolworth Building tours. Cass Gilbert was Curry’s paternal great grandfather and she began running tours in the Woolworth Building on the 100th anniversary of the landmark. As Curry says herself, “there are so many behind-the-scenes “secrets” about the Woolworth Building” and we’re excited to share them with you on this special tour.
- Access the Woolworth Building, which is normally off-limits to the public, with building architect Cass Gilbert’s great granddaughter, Helen Post Curry
- 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 former direct access to the NYC subway
- Contemplate many Art Deco details including the gorgeous mailboxes and elevators
Photograph Courtesy of NPS Photos
Visit the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans at the African Burial Ground National Memorial in Lower Manhattan. The historic burial ground was discovered in 1989 when an archaeological research excavation was conducted at the site in preparation for the construction of 290 Broadway. Thirty feet below the street level, archeologists unearthed the “Negroes Buriel Ground,” a 6-acre site that contained around 15,000 intact skeletal remains of enslaved and free Africans who lived and worked in colonial New York. It dates from the middle 1630s to 1795. This visit will include a film screening, self-guided tour of the indoor exhibits, and memorial talk at the outside monument. You can join this free tour if you are an Untapped Cities Insider!Already a member? Book here!
The story of Grand Central Terminal is that of New York City itself: the structure embodies the social, cultural, economic and technological evolution around it. It is one of great men, feuding architects, ingenuity, rejuvenation, secrets and surprises. On this tour, we will tell you these stories – about what once was, what could have been, and what can be; about the struggle to save and restore Grand Central as a preserved icon of the past, and of challenge to ensure that it serves New York’s future. We will show you what it was like in the booming age of the railroad, as a rundown embarrassment, and as a renovated jewel at the center of the city. Together, we will explore the interesting and unique spaces produced for and by it. Whether you pass through it every day on your morning commute or stroll through the Beaux Arts beauty for the first time, you are sure to leave having learned, seen, or experienced something new and extraordinary.
Take a ride through the living history of the world’s largest rapid transit system (in area) by weaving in and out of the past and present transit hubs of lower Manhattan. This unique tour is designed to give a comprehensive history of the NYC Subway system, from its groundbreaking in 1901 up through the creation of the three different proprietary lines which were unified into the system we know today. We’ll uncover information and learn about spaces even the most seasoned commuter might not know about.
This tour will stop in stations that are all open to the public. Using the 6 train as our own ten-car time machine, we will ride through and see three abandoned ghost stations that 4, 5, and 6 riders unknowingly pass through everyday: Worth Street and the famed City Hall Station. We will not stop inside these stations. * exact route may vary slightly based on the MTA’s weekend schedule
Sunday, August 18th
Prospect Park, the pastoral oasis in the heart of Brooklyn, has been called a “masterpiece.” Created by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (designers of Central Park), it is a sprawling haven of meadows, woods, and water. On this walking tour, we’ll explore the park’s highlights, learn about its design, hear stories of intriguing happenings in the park, and uncover its secrets.
- Uncover the secrets and symbols of Grand Army Plaza, the monumental entrance to the park
- Learn about the park’s ingenious design and the monumental task of transforming it from a wasteland into a pastoral haven
- Hear about the secret tunnels beneath the park’s surface
- Visit the once-idyllic garden that devolved into a symbol of the park’s decay (and is being restored to its former glory!)
- Discover the innovative initiatives to combat storm damage and erosion, including recycling historic elements and employing a squadron of livestock
- See the private cemetery within the park – home to a Hollywood legend
- Stroll Brooklyn’s last remaining forest and discover Olmstead’s hidden tricks to enhance the woodland
- Hear about mysterious happenings inside the park, including mystic rituals and supernatural park-goers