Photograph by Richard Barnes, Courtesy of Alloy Development
Every week Untapped Cities brings you to New York City’s most famous and off-the-beaten path locations to show you a different side of the city. This week, explore a 19th-century paint factory in Brooklyn, uncover the storied history of Governors Island, reveal the underground secrets of the subway and so much more!
Tuesday, September 17th
We just opened up more slots on this members-only Untapped Cities Insiders tourd where you will discover two mythic locations inside the historic Park Slope Armory: an abandoned shooting range underground once used by the 14th Regiment of the New York State militia, nicknamed as the ”Red Legged Devils” during the Civil War and a hidden Veterans Museum that Untapped Cities featured in the book Secret Brooklyn. At this visit, Insiders will get to meet Tom Miskel, a Park Slope resident and veteran of the Vietnam War who has been working on the multi-room museum, which is chock full of artifacts from the many wars fought by the United States. Miskel will give a brief introduction of the spaces and then leed us into the hidden rooms! You’ll not only be able see two of the shooting ranges, but also a Victorian-era waiting room where the soldiers would wait their turn.Already a member? Book here!
Wednesday, September 18th
Go Inside the Raw and Renovated Spaces of 168 Plymouth, a Former 19th-Century Paint Factory in DUMBO
Photograph by Richard Barnes, Courtesy of Alloy Development
Join Brooklyn Historical Society and Alloy Development to discover some of the most historic buildings in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. We’ll start at 168 Plymouth, a new residential development by Alloy inside two iconic DUMBO buildings, where we will hear from the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Nalleli Guillen. Guillen is a historian and Project Manager of the Revealing Long Island History Project. She will talk about the history of the neighborhood and specifically the history of the two buildings that make up 168 Plymouth. The two structures were built for Masury & Sons Paintworks in 1891 and 1921 and served as storage and manufacturing. After Guillen’s brief talk, Insiders will walk through 168 Plymouth to see its secret garden courtyard and some of the new residential spaces. The property is made up forty-six homes, a mix of townhouses, brick and timber lofts, daylight lofts and penthouses. Insiders will then stop outside two more Alloy properties in the neighborhood to cap off the tour.
- Go inside raw spaces of the historic buildings, including the basement and second floor which overlooks the courtyard, which were once part of Masury and Sons Paintworks
- See the renovated lobby of 168 Plymouth which used to be a loading dock
- Stop outside 185 Plymouth, 192 Water, DUMBO Townhouses, and One John, other Alloy developments
Friday, September 20th
Photograph Courtesy of Randall’s Island Park Alliance
Located at the southern end of Randall’s Island visitors will find a 40,000square foot, environmentally-sustainable farm. The Urban Farm at Randall’s Island Park is composed of 100 raised beds, two greenhouses, four rice paddies (the only paddies in New York City), an outdoor kitchen, and an integrated compost bin that is fed by a solar-powered forced-air system. Untapped Cities Insiders are invited to the farm to discover the many fruits and vegetables that are growing there including eggplant, edamame, kohlrabi, kale, lemon sorrel, cucamelon and more! The tour will be led by an experienced Urban Farmer who will be able to answer any questions you may have while walking through the farm.Already a member? Book here!
- Explore the early Dutch era maritime history through the stories of infamous sea captains Adrian Block and William Kidd
- Get access onto the Wavertree at South Street Seaport, including inside its great hull. “There isn’t a ship in the world that has a space like this,” South Street Seaport Executive Director Jonathan Boulware
- 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
- Your ticket includes entry into the South Street Seaport Museum
Saturday, September 21st
- Discover the hidden-in-plain-sight remnants of the 1939/40 and 1964/65 World’s Fairs with playwright and Untapped Cities tour guide, Justin Rivers
- Visit the monument to a 5000-year time capsule
- View the original guidebooks from each of the World’s Fairs
- Get a comprehensive history of the past, present, and future of Flushing Meadow-Corona Park, with Insider information from our partners involved with the preservation of the New York State Pavilion
- Each guest will receive reproductions of World’s Fair Maps from both 1939 and 1964
- 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
- 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!
Inside the Chambers Street station in Lower Manhattan
- 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
Sunday, September 22nd
- Discover the islands history, from Henry Hudson and Dutch settlement to the French and Indian War to Frank Sinatra! Governors Island was actually the first true New Amsterdam!
- Find out how the Dutch used the Island in the 1600’s and the conflicts that arose between the two vastly different cultural groups of colonists and natives
- Learn about colonial and native archaeology
- See the present and future of the Island after our tour of the entire historic district by going into some of the old military homes, many of which house art exhibitions or pop-up museums! Then traverse the beautiful native plant gardens cared for by the Trust for Governors Island and stroll or ride past the Urban Farm and Earth Matter to see some of the sustainable efforts of organizations that call the 172-acre park home
- 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!
- 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.
The abandoned Ellis Island Hospital complex—once the standard for United States medical care (and later transformed to the FBI headquarters when the island served as a detention center)—has been left to decay for nearly 60 years. Now, Untapped Cities is bringing you behind-the-scenes for a unique exploration of the abandoned facility; on this experience, you’ll visit the contagious disease wards, the autopsy rooms and have exclusive access to places usually closed to the public.
While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 29-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.
This tour will take you back to the Gritty Old Times Square of the 1970’s, a world featured in HBO’s new series The Deuce. Back then, Times Square was a dangerous, exciting, gritty, intense, racially and sexually diverse neighborhood frequented by both locals and tourists. Love it or hate it, you couldn’t ignore it. Most of old Times Square has been carefully obliterated by generic hotels, soulless office buildings, and Walt Disney musicals, but there are still a few vestiges of its seedy past—if you know where to look.
- Learn about about the largest sex emporium in New York City (and maybe the world), the freak show where Diane Arbus found her inspiration, as well as the last remaining hot sheet hotel and live peep show in Times Square
- Discover the dirtiest hotel in America, the oldest building on 42nd Street (it’s not what you think), and the most dangerous block in New York City
- Visit sites for classic films like Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Taxi Driver (1976)