This October brings Archtober, New York City’s architecture and design month and an annual festival of architecture activities, programs and exhibitions. Organized by the Center for Architecture in collaboration with over 70 partners and sponsors (like us!), the festival brings together events such as daily building tours and lectures by design experts, as well as architecture-themed competitions and parties.
Archtober began in 2003 when the American Institute of Architects New York opened the Center for Architecture and unveiled New York in an all new way to architecture aficionados. For the next seven years, Architecture Week took place in the second week of October. In 2010, the Architecture & Design Film Festival hosted its first New York event the following week. These events and many others were consolidated into a month-long celebration, Archtober was launched in 2011 and now includes a larger collective of local architecture and design organizations. The Center for Architecture hosts Building of the Day tours of notable contemporary and historic buildings.
For Archtober this year, Untapped New York will be leading a plethora of talks, virtual and in-person tours about New York’s architecture and history! Other events to check out include the AIANY Around Manhattan Architecture Boat Tour, Center for Architecture’s Little Island Tour, Public Garden Highlights Walk at Wave Hill, Expanding the Narrative: Researching Black Fashion Designers at Bard Graduate Center, and an Art & Object Walk at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, among many others. Check out the full list of Archtober events here! And take a look at what Untapped New York has curated for Archtober this year below!
Lost New York: Mansions of Fifth Ave
To kick off Archtober, Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers will give a talk on some of the magnificent mansions on Millionaire’s Row that no longer stand. Rivers will bring these glamorous abodes back to life with stunning historical images and scintillating stories of the affairs that took place inside. See images of Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Fifth Avenue mansion, once the largest single residence in New York City. Hear about the glittering “Fancy Dress Ball” thrown at Alva Vanderbilt’s Richard Morris Hunt-designed “Petit Chateau.” Discover the “modest” brownstone from which Mrs. Astor ruled NYC’s high society. And find out which mansions are now used as a jewelry store, a museum, embassies, and more! Get your tickets here!
The Vanderbilts, the Astors, and the Beekmans are just a few of the notable New York families who once resided on Manhattan’s fashionable Fifth Avenue. During the Gilded Age, Fifth Avenue was lined with extravagant mansions built for the wealthiest New Yorkers by start architects of the age. What began as an undeveloped parcel of land in 1785 quickly developed into one of the wealthiest areas of the country as development of the city pushed northward. Between 59th and 78th Streets, rich New Yorkers like Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Jacob Astor purchased and built extravagant homes along Fifth Avenue, some valued at over $150 million today. And there were about a dozen Vanderbilt homes and mansions just on Fifth Avenue, with a few more a couple of blocks north on the Upper East Side. This event will take place on 10/1 and 10/26.
Secrets of New York
Did you know that the Brooklyn Bridge has hidden champagne vaults? Or that there’s a river below the Empire State Building? Join this unique webinar and discover some of Untapped New York’s team favorite secrets! In this talk about the Secrets of NYC, Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers to uncover the most fascinating unknown facts about New York City! This talk will pull from our list of more than 160 secrets, compiled from Untapped’s years of exploring and reporting on the hidden side of the city. Get your tickets here!
Uncover the largest landmark in New York City (it’s not a building!). Explore an abandoned subway station that was once the “crown jewel” of NYC’s underground transit system. Find out where the geological center of NYC is. Peek inside a bedroom frozen in the year 1893. And discover hidden gems built right into the sidewalks of NYC. This event will take place on 10/4 and 10/27.
Emery Roth’s 150 Birthday Celebration with the Roth Family and Andrew Alpern
Emery Roth was a prolific New York City architect who designed many notable buildings in the 1920s and ’30s. He was renowned for elegant prewar Manhattan apartment buildings like The Beresford, The San Remo, Ritz Tower, and The Whitby. He also designed a number of Art Deco buildings in the Bronx, some of which have been mostly forgotten.
Join us in a special virtual event on October 5th curated by Untapped New York designed to celebrate one of New York City’s greatest architects and his family’s legendary firms Emery Roth & Sons. Celebrate Emery Roth’s 150 birthday with the Roth family and celebrated architectural author, Andrew Alpern. Alpern will treat guests to the saga of a family of architects, from the first generation’s development of luxury apartment houses through the second and third generation’s re-imagination of office buildings as machines to maximize land value. Members of the Roth Family will also be speaking, including architect Richard Roth, Jr. and Emery Roth II. Get your tickets here!
Abandoned Subway Stations of NYC
Dive deep into New York City’s subway system to uncover hidden and abandoned spaces you may be traveling through every day without even knowing it! New York City’s subterranean transit system is constantly evolving and while new stations and routes have been added or upgraded, others have become obsolete. On an upcoming virtual talk with Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers, you will discover the forgotten and neglected stations of the subway and uncover the legends and truth of what goes on there! Get your tickets here!
Explore New York City’s ghost stations, some commuters pass through every day without knowing! Learn about the mythical “Roswell” of subway stations out in Queens; its existence is still up for debate. See photos of the only subway station and line to be built and then deliberately destroyed just two years later. And discover a guerrilla art This event takes place on 10/12 and 10/28.
Rafael Guastavino’s New York
The Guastavino father and son team incorporated their tile arch system into dozens of buildings across the five boroughs including New York City’s most iconic landmarks like Grand Central Terminal, City Hall Station, and the Queensboro Bridge. Virtually travel up the east side of Manhattan with Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers to uncover these often hidden-in-plain-sight gems and learn what made Guastavino’s work so visually and structurally breathtaking while appreciating them firsthand. Get your tickets here!
Guastavino tiles, a famed, though now obsolete vaulting technique used in over 200 historical structures in the city, can give any New York City dweller or tourist a new appreciation for the artisanal origins found in architecture. Like many of New York City’s cultural influencers, the family members who founded the eponymous Guastavino Company were immigrants. Rafael Guastavino, Sr. (1842-1908), born in Valencia, Spain, and trained as an architect with a Master Builder degree, brought his then nine-year-old son Rafael Guastavino, Jr. (1872-1950), also Spanish-born, to the United States. This event takes place on 10/14.
Moynihan Train Hall Art Walk
When the new Moynihan Train Hall opened in January, one of the big stars of the hall was the public art installed throughout. Installations by artists Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas, and duo Elmgreen & Dragset brought excitement and creativity to the brand new space. The $1.6 billion hall transformed the old James A. Farley postal building, a 1912 Beaux-Arts-style design by McKim Mead and White, into a museum of its own.
Join Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers as he shares the artistic side of Moynihan, with a little bonus trip over to Penn Station to talk about a rarely recognized artistic remnant of the old Penn Station. Of course, there will be frameable handouts! On the in-person tour, unearth all the exciting art in Moynihan Train Hall. Hear the stories about the creation of the art and the artists themselves. Learn about some of the new art on the way to Moynihan. Explore some of the outdoor art which usually gets ignored. Get your tickets to the Moynihan Train Hall tour here! This event takes place on 10/16.
Inside the Renovated Waldorf-Astoria
Discover what it would be like to live at Waldorf Astoria New York on this virtual tour of the historic hotel’s new residential spaces. On this virtual tour, you will explore the luxurious residences and 50,000 square-feet of private amenity spaces of The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. See the sun-soaked Starlight Pool which sits beneath a massive, newly-designed skylight that echoes the architect’s original intent, envision yourself lounging on the Starlight Terrace above Park Avenue, and admire the glamorous interior design by internationally-renowned designer Jean-Louis Deniot. In addition to seeing newly designed areas of the building, you will also revisit some of the classic landmarked spaces within the hotel and learn more about the extensive restoration work being done to carry on the legacy of the Waldorf Astoria. This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders, join here and get your first month free with code JOINUS!
Discover how the landmarked interiors of the historic hotel are being restored to their original 1931 grandeur. Learn about the preservation of the Waldorf Astoria’s treasures, including the iconic 1893 World’s Fair Clock and the striking Spirit of Achievement statue, which was located above the Park Avenue entrance. Hear about the famous names who frequented the Waldorf Astoria, including Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra, and every U.S. President from Hoover to Obama. And share your own stories of this famous and beloved NYC landmark. This event takes place on 10/7.
NYPL Treasures Exhibition
Take a curator-led tour of New York Public Library’s new Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures. The permanent, free exhibition at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue will feature over 250 items spanning 4,000 years from the institution’s renowned research collections. The tour will be led by Declan Kiely, director of special collections and exhibitions (who led the curation of the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures). This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders, join here and get your first month free with code JOINUS!
See such treasures as: The Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, an original copy of the Bill of Rights, manuscripts and typescripts of classic works by Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, and many others, a Shakespeare First Folio, the original dolls owned by the real-life Christopher Robin that inspired the Winnie The Pooh stories, sheet music from Beethoven and Mozart (and a lock of Beethoven’s hair), and Charles Dickens’ writing desk and personal prompt copy of A Christmas Carol (with his notes) that he used for reading. This event takes place on 10/18.
Remnants of Penn Station Tour
There are two things most commuters don’t realize about Penn Station’s history: First, there used to be a gorgeous Beaux-Arts station that was demolished in the mid-’60s. Second, parts of that old station can still be found today. They’ve just been buried under the arena that landed on top of them. Although Amtrak only acknowledges one remnant remaining, tour participants will learn about station history and discover over a dozen remnants of the McKim, Mead & White building hiding in plain sight.
On this tour of the remnants of Penn Station, discover the past, present and future of Penn Station, including the newly opened Moynihan Station. See over a dozen indoor and outdoor old-station remnants hidden in plain sight. Learn insider navigation tips for one of the most cramped and complicated transit hubs in North America. See never-before-seen old station photos from the collections of three photographers who photo-documented Penn’s life and demolition. And receive a framable, reproduction ticket of the first commuter ride into Pennsylvania Station from 1910. This event takes place on 10/9.
Secrets of the Lincoln Tunnel
Opening to traffic for the first time in 1937, the Lincoln Tunnel, which connects New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan, was hailed as the New Deal’s next great engineering triumph. The tunnel was designed by Ole Singstad, a Norwegian-American civil engineer who designed a number of tunnels across the country. A second tube was built shortly after the Lincoln Tunnel’s first, with a third requested in the 1950s due to increasing traffic. To this day, the three tunnels service thousands of cars and buses coming in and out of New York City.
Join Untapped New York’s Chief Experience Officer, Justin Rivers, as he drives you through the secrets and marvels of NYC’s infamous pieces of infrastructure — without having to sit in traffic. Learn about the famous catwalks police used to use to monitor traffic. Delight in the story of the elephants that once walked through the tunnel. Unpack the nightmarish conditions endured in building the tunnel and how popular demand required a third tunnel to be built. And discover new threats to the structural integrity of the tunnel as Hudson River tides shift. Get your tickets here! This event takes place on 10/20.
Secrets of Grand Central
Discover the many secrets of this New York City icon! Close to a million people pass through Grand Central Terminal every day, yet very few know the many stories and secrets which you will learn on this tour. On this unique walking tour, you will discover the origins and history of the Beaux-Arts train station, from its glittering glory days to disrepair and modern quests to save it. Our top-rated tour guides will make you experience what most miss: its hidden features, design quirks, and much more. On this tour, learn about the design flaw as large as Grand Central’s atrium, peek into the entrance of the glass walkways, see Grand Central’s hidden tennis court, locate the hidden symbols of the family that built Grand Central, and explore what’s left of Grand Central’s movie theater. Get your tickets here! (multiple dates in October).
Financial District Hidden Gems Tour
Acre for acre, there is more history in New York City’s Financial District than anywhere else in the country, and most of is buried under strata of infrastructure or hidden in plain sight. On Untapped New York’s Hidden Gems of the Financial District walking tour, you will explore that history while making surprising discoveries along the way. From the spot where American government and capitalism once lived across the street from each other to some of the buried secrets of New York City’s past and present, this Wall Street tour goes digging through the layers of history that helped to define not only New York City but the entire country.
Discover Wall Street’s turbulent history still visible today. Decode the most cryptic gravestone in Trinity Churchyard. Touch one of the oldest standing structures in lower Manhattan. Step into a 19th-century candy store hidden in the basement of an office building. And discover the site of NYC’s long-standing slave market. Get your tickets here! This event takes place on 10/3.
Secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge Tour
A walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York City’s most popular past times for tourists and residents alike. It’s hard not to be amazed by the granite and limestone structure that has straddled the East River for over 135 years, connecting the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn. Completed in 1883 after nearly fifteen years of construction, the bridge was an engineering marvel. At the time of its completion, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest ever built and it was the tallest structure in New York City’s skyline. Over the past nearly 140 years, this iconic landmark has been attached to countless stories and myths, secrets and fascinating facts.
On this tour of the Brooklyn Bridge, discover the Brooklyn Bridge’s secrets, including its old Cold War fall-out shelter, the hidden champagne vaults, the bridge jumper survivor’s support group and more. See an abandoned park hidden in plain sight as you explore the perimeter of the Manhattan anchorages of the bridge. Uncover the hidden statue of the family of engineers who built the bridge. Locate the site of the nation’s first White House. And cross the bridge span, which offers one of the best vantage points in New York City. Get your tickets here! This event takes place on 10/17 and 10/24.
Secrets of the Lower East Side
Once the most densely populated district in the world, the Lower East Side of Manhattan has witnessed numerous changes during the past hundred years. This walking tour will focus on a few of the remaining vestiges and surviving buildings and structures of an era of Jewish immigration. Join long-time Lower East Side resident Richard Soden as he highlights buildings and structures that still exist today as well as those that have been restored, re-purposed, demolished, and abandoned. He will speak about what transformed the neighborhood. The tour will conclude with a discussion of several food establishments that still exist today, some of Richard’s fond childhood memories, and a brief look at the Lower East Side today. Get your tickets here!
Explore synagogues of the Lower East Side that have been repurposed into art galleries, churches, and event spaces as well as bathhouses, restaurants, movie theaters, and more. Learn about the history of the Lower East Side, once the most densely populated district in the world. Uncover the history of Jewish Immigration in the area and hear what tenement life was like, find out where immigrants shopped, banked, and how they obtained news of the times. And stop by significant Lower East Side landmarks including the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the Jarmulowsky Bank, Forwards Building, and old Old Loew’s movie theaters, This event takes place on 10/9.
Remnants of Dutch New York
Explore where New York began and see what is left of Dutch New Amsterdam in today’s lower Manhattan! In this small-group walking tour, you’ll hear about New York’s founding myths and facts while standing in the very spots where they all happened. With New York City’s first map in hand, you will trace the streets of Manhattan in 1667 while discovering the many hidden Dutch relics south of Wall Street. Physically touch history as you spend time finding out how Bowling Green got its name and why it’s been so important in our city’s history! Among the many relics you will experience on this tour are the foundations of New York City’s first City Hall (which was also a tavern!), the long-forgotten oyster pasty cannon, the original battery wall and so much more!
On the tour, walk lower Manhattan’s original coastline. See the remains of Manhattan’s first City Hall. Discover the original Dutch fort, windmill and battery. Trace the streets of Manhattan in 1667 with Manhattan’s first map in hand. And physically touch history as we spend time finding out how Bowling Green got its name. Get your tickets here! This event takes place on 10/10 and 10/24.
Didn’t make it to the 1939/40 or 1964/65 World’s Fairs? Well here’s your chance. This tour will uncover numerous remnants of both fairs, with a focus on the hidden time capsules, the Fountain of the Planets, the Unisphere, and the historic New York State Pavilion. And if you did attend back in the day, revisit the park and add color by telling us your story! Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has lived many lives from marshy tidal wetlands to an early 20th Century ash dump, to the site of not one, but two World’s Fairs. This tour explores the past, present, and future of this 900-acre park which was an obsession of the late “Master Builder,” Robert Moses. Get your tickets here!
Discover the hidden-in-plain-sight remnants of the 1939/40 and 1964/65 inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park. 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. Receive reproductions of World’s Fair Maps from both 1939 and 1964. And receive complimentary Admission to the Queens Museum, to admire the Panorama of the City of New York. This event takes place on 10/17.
Documentary about Jade Doskow, Photographer of Lost Utopias
Jade Doskow, Photographer of Lost Utopias, a short documentary film directed by filmmaker Philip Shane, follows architectural landscape photographer Jade Doskow on her 10-year quest to capture the monumental world’s fair echoes that remain worldwide. While Shane and Doskow take the viewer to many cities across the globe, including Paris, New York, Brussels, and Seattle, the film provides an insider’s look into an artist’s painstaking process of producing work. This event is free for Untapped New York Insiders, join here and get your first month free with code JOINUS!
Architectural works from past world’s fair expositions are aspirational visions. Most of these fantastical structures were meant to be temporary, but dozens of examples still remain. Doskow’s 10-year project, an equally fantastical perspective of these significant sites, is featured in this film and Q&A. A sneak peek into the artistic process of a photographer, Jade Doskow, Photographer of Lost Utopias shows Doskow’s practice of setting up shoots, taking a handful of frames at each location, and spending weeks or months on the digital editing process. The film features a successful female photographer who struggles to find a balance between being an artist and raising a family. The documentary short was selected for international festivals, such as Nevada Women’s Film Festival, Malibu Film Festival, and LIIFE, and screening in art institutions such as Asheville Art Museum and the ICP. This event takes place on 10/21.
After Hours Green-Wood Cemetery and Catacombs
On October 1st, explore the historic Green-Wood Cemetery after dark and enter the catacombs, an area usually off-limits to the public! On this Untapped New York Insider tour led by a Green-Wood Cemetery tour guide, discover the connection between the tobacco shop owner John Anderson, the mysterious murder of Mary Rogers, “The Beautiful Cigar Girl,” and Edgar Allen Poe. Visit the Pilot’s Monument, dedicated by New York Harbor pilots after the tragic sinking of the John Minturn. Meet Elias Howe, the man behind the sewing machine and his beloved dog Fannie, buried behind Howe’s monument. Stop by the grave of Elizabeth Gloucester, the Black woman entrepreneur whose fortune helped fund John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. And take a sneak peek into one of the Cemetery’s rarely opened structures! The Green-Wood Cemetery Catacombs consist of 30 vaults set beneath a hill and secured by locked iron gates. Dating back to the early 1850s, the Catacombs provided an alternative to being buried in the ground when you couldn’t afford your own mausoleum. This tour is already sold out, but you can become an Untapped New York Insider and look out for future dates!
Tour of Strivers Row
On 138th and 139th Streets between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Frederick Douglass Boulevards in Harlem sit four rows of beautiful townhouses. A peculiar marker “Private Road, Walk Your Horses” is painted onto the columns that support intricate curled rod-iron gates leading into spacious private townhouse parking. These rows of Neo-Italian and Georgian townhouses together make up Strivers Row, one of the city’s architectural gems and a rich source of local history.
On an upcoming October 17 tour led by Mark Satlof, a 22-year-resident of Strivers Row and an Untapped New York Insider himself, Insiders will get a rare insight into this important and pioneering residential development. As you enjoy a lovely guided stroll through the two blocks that comprise the St. Nicholas Historic District, you will learn how this unique micro-neighborhood arose, its history from 1892 through today, and its distinguished and famous past and present residents. This tour is already sold out, but you can become an Untapped New York Insider and look out for future dates!
Tour of The Skyscraper Museum
The Skyscraper Museum’s director and exhibition curator Carol Willis will discuss the special exhibition SUPERTALL! 2021, which surveys new developments in skyscrapers design and engineering around the world. This tour will feature: Models and more on the world’s three tallest buildings: Burj Khalifa in Dubai; Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur (under construction); and Shanghai Tower, as well as a 9′-tall context model of the most slender building in the world, Manhattan’s 111 W 57th St.
The Skyscraper Museum, a favorite among architectural enthusiasts, recently reopened on July 15 after hosting virtual exhibitions and tours for over a year. The exhibition SUPERTALL!, which is still on display at the museum, takes a look at “supertalls,” or what the Skyscraper Museum considers buildings above 1,250 feet — the height of the Empire State Building. A museum survey found that there are only 58 buildings in the world that surpass that height, seven of which are located in New York City. The survey includes all buildings that in fall 2019 were believed to have a completion date by 2024. This tour is already sold out, but you can become an Untapped New York Insider and look out for future dates!