Photograph by Jochen Enderlin
Every week, Untapped New York offers a line-up of behind-the-scenes experiences designed to help you rediscover your city. From exploring a photography exhibit of life-sized photographs of graffiti tagged subway cars in the 1970s and 1980s, to admiring the glamorous interior of the landmarked Woolworth Building, check out what is going on this week:
Tuesday, November 5th
- 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!
Wednesday, November 6th
- 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
Thursday, November 7th
Image Courtesy of Abrams Books
Central Park might be the most famous and best loved example of pastoral landscape architecture in the United States, but for Upper East Siders, it’s also a brilliant backyard. If you’ve ever wondered how the extraordinary emerald oasis became a reality, join Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts for this illustrated book talk with art historian and New York City Municipal Archives conservator Cynthia Brenwall Drawing on hundreds of previously-unpublished designs, notes, maps and materials from the NYC Municipal Archives, Ms. Brenwall’s new book, The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure, offers a more complete understanding of the development and early history of Central Park than ever before. In this illustrated lecture, Brenwall will give us a lush look at the park’s creation, and show off early examples of Olmsted and Vaux’s extraordinary vision. If you are an Untapped New York Insider, you can attend this book talk for free! Not a member yet? Become an Insider today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special events all year long! Already a member? Book here!
Experience four centuries of Brooklyn’s built environment with Cornell professor and urbanist Thomas J. Campanella at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Join Campanella for an unprecedented journey through the history of the beloved borough via its built environment. In his book Brooklyn: The Once and Future City, Campanella brings us from sleepy colonial settlements, to the electric playground of Coney Island, and everything built in between. In addition to sharing what we’ve built and what we’ve lost, this epic story highlights some of the never-realized dreams of Brooklynites through time, from abandoned plans for the world’s tallest building to failed designs to make Jamaica Bay the largest deep-water seaport on Earth. Editor at Curbed Amy Plitt joins Campanella for this urban exploration. You can attend this book talk for free if you are an Untapped New York Insider. Already a member Book here!
Saturday, November 9th
Photograph by Argenis Apolinario Photography
Explore the striking documentary photography of Henry Chalfant and Bronx-native Alvin Baltrop in two exhibitions at the Bronx Museum on a members-only tour for Untapped New York Insiders. Chalfant documented the street art and urban culture in New York City during the 1970s and ’80s when graffiti artists took over subway trains as their canvas. The exhibit, Henry Chalfant: Art vs. Transit, 1977-1987 brings back to life a tumultuous, transitionary period in New York City that produced creative movements that became global phenomena. In the exhibit The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop, Insiders will get to see portraits and photographs of New York City that “convey the raw energy that characterized some of the city’s most impassioned grassroots campaigns for survival” with a focus on the underground gay culture that flourished along the Hudson River during the 1970s. If you are an Untapped New York Insider, you can attend this tour for free! Already a member Book here!
- 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
- 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 Neo-Gothic details including the gorgeous mailboxes and elevators
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.
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.
Sunday, November 10th
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)