untapped cities

Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Program Locations:

Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Program is free, but advance registration is recommended. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance.

The oldest building in New York City, the hobbit doors of Dennet Place, a hidden museum in a Williamsburg apartment—Brooklyn is filled with secrets.

Secret Brooklyn book coverAway from the crowds and standard attractions, Brooklyn offers countless offbeat experiences. Michelle Young and Augustin Pasquet, founders of the online magazine Untapped Cities, join us for a conversation their book Secret Brooklyn: An Usual Guide.

After presenting an overview of the borough’s hidden treasures, the authors will discuss their popular website and the power of urban discovery. A Q&A follows.

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Brooklyn also has plenty of secrets in store for New Yorkers to discover this fall. Join Untapped Cities for Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide on October 23, which will give attendees the chance to learn from one of the borough’s secret locations, along Newtown Creek. To learn more about one of the borough’s icons, the Brooklyn Dodgers, head to a talk on the legendary baseball team’s legacy on October 17.

Learn about the “Ghost Ship” of Brooklyn, which was stationed off the borough’s coast during the American Revolution, on November 20.…

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Officially releasing on July 15th, the book Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide is written and photographed by Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young and co-founder Augustin Pasquet. To celebrate, we’ll be hosting a launch party for the book on Thursday, July 13th at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., one of the 100+ amazing places in this book.

The party is produced in partnership with the website Brokelyn and will feature a presentation by Michelle and Augustin about their favorite spots and the process of making this book. Refreshments will be served and there will be opportunity to purchase books, get them autographed and meet the authors.

Entry is free, but RSVP is required:

Book Now

Can’t make the event? Purchase the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2tVS4r9

Here’s a little preview of what’s inside:

Discover secret museums, go on an urban safari for wild parrots, locate a landmarked tree, enter the oldest building in New York City, watch a performance of robots in a church, stand tall next to hobbit doors on an otherwise normal residential street, learn how to breathe fire, swallow swords, hammer a nail into your skull and charm a snake, touch the oldest subway tunnel in the world and the world’s smallest Torah, forage for food in Prospect Park, taste wine atop the world’s first commercial rooftop vineyard, step inside a grocery store frozen in 1939, take in a basketball game inside a historic movie theater.

Brooklyn offers countless opportunities to step off the beaten path and is home to any number of well-hidden treasures that are revealed only to residents and travelers who are ready to explore. Secret Brooklyn An Unusual Guide is an indispensable guide for those who think they already know Brooklyn or would like to discover its hidden places, taking you far from the crowds and the usual clichés.

 Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guid

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Greenwich Village Neon Evening Walking Tour

Where: Location TBA
When: 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Rinaldi, author of the book “New York Neon,” will lead a walking tour, organized by Untapped Cities, of the Village’s multitude of neon signage, on businesses like Bigelow Drugs, which dates back to 1838. Tickets are $30 plus fees on Untapped Cities.…

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Lower Manhattan neighborhood tour organized by Untapped Cities, Saturday, June 11, 2pm-4pm. Tickets available via eventbrite.com


Although virtually nothing remains of Dutch New Amsterdam, the Dutch influence is felt in many hidden relics south of Wall Street. This includes the massive one hidden in plain sight: The original street grid embedded in lower Manhattan grid today.Join author, playwright, and Untapped Cities’ guide, Justin Rivers, complete with Manhattan’s first map in hand as you trace the streets of Manhattan in 1667. You’ll hear about New York’s founding myths and facts while standing in the very spots they all happened. Tour highlights include, a look at the remains of Manhattan’s first city hall, a walk of the city’s original coast line, discovering the original Dutch fort, wind mill, and the original battery. Physically touch history as we also spend time finding out why Bowling Green has its name and why it’s been so important in our city’s history.Tour length: 1.5 hours

Cost $30+ service charge

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The Greenwich Series

Next Event

24th February

6.45pm Doors, 7pm Show

Jimmy’s No 43, 43 E 7th St

Suggested $5 donation on the door

Featuring Michelle Young, editor of Untapped Cities as one of the speakers.

“As the editor of Untapped Cities, Michelle has become something of an expert on New York’s quirkier past. She’ll be delving into her black book of New York’s strangest true stories.”…

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from Untapped Cities:

“Researching our latest article on street photography Harvey Stein, we read New-York Historical Society’ curator Marilyn Kushner’s introduction to Stein’s new book Briefly Seen New York Street LifeKushner traces Stein’s place in the lineage of New York City street photographers, beginning with one of the earliest known photographs of New York City, a 1839-1840 daguerreotype of the Unitarian Church in downtown Manhattan shot by Samuel F.B. Morse and John Draper.

1839, we thought? This is far before the 1848 date for the Upper West Side photograph. And, it was taken by telegraph inventor Samuel Morse, then a professor of painting and sculpture at New York University and John William Draper, an inventory and chemist who founded NYU’s school of medicine. Gizmodo writes that the daguerrotype technology came over from France to New York in 1839, which makes sense given that Morse visited Louis Daguerre in Paris that same year. In fact, most of the early photographs taken by Daguerre were destroyed in a fire at his home and studio while Morse was visiting. Morse also wrote a letter to the New York Observer (his brother was the founder of the publication) describing the invention, causing quite a stir in America.

Furthermore, this Unitarian Church daguerrotype still exists – it’s in the Photographic History Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian notes that the photograph was taken either in the fall of 1839 or the winter of 1840. Morse’s notebook on his experimentations with the daguerrotype is in the Library of Congress (scanned here) begins in January 1840.

Morse and Draper took many more, but Draper’s known photos from 1839 to 1840 focused on portraits and scientific matters. In 1840, he was the first person to take a photograph of an astronomical item – the moon. Were there more streetscapes? In one entry in January 1840, Morse notes that he took a view of City Hall and in February an exterior view towards Brooklyn, but his experimentations at this time were mostly for naught: “Result: Nothing!” he writes several times. After more failures, on February 12th he writes, “partially succeeded in distance, view towards Brooklyn.” Soon after that, Morse focused his energies on the telegraph.

Where might these early photographs be, if they still exist? We’re still looking but for now, it looks like Morse’s Unitarian Church image may likely beat out the Upper West side one for the title of “oldest known” photograph of New York City.

The author @untappedmich is also the author of the book Broadway, a collection of nearly 200 vintage photographs recounting the history of NYC’s famous street Broadway.“…

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From Untapped Cities.com: Top 10 Secrets of the Woolworth Building


On our recent Untapped Cities exclusive tour of the Woolworth Building, preservationist Lisa Swyers along with Roy Suskin of The Witkoff Group took us to some truly off-limits spots in the already off-limits building. We went down into the bowels to see the mechanical rooms that support the 57 story building, we saw the famous pool, and we went up to the mezzanine. Aside from the unprecedented access, we learned from our guides some wild facts about the building. It’s our third visit there, and we keep learning new things each time. Here are 10 secrets to whet your appetite for our next Woolworth Tour on April 12th.


1. There’s An Abandoned Pool and Hot Tub in the Basement

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Woolworth’s vision of the pool—a luxurious and lavish Pompeian pool and hot tub—was never quite realized. The pool had its best use as a Jack Lalanne fitness club, but it’s boarded up today. However, there are plans to renovate the pool along with part of the building that will be turned into condos. Another fun fact: It’s the second oldest pool in the city, after the one at Teachers College, according to Roy. Also, there was the pool contained a drain to allow the water to be used by the building’s fire prevention system as another method to ensure it’s safety (since it was constructed right after the sinking of the Titanic, which was allegedly unsinkable, Woolworth wanted to ensure that his building truly was impervious).

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5075The remnants of the hot tub

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2. There’s A Water Tank in the Basement!

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The Woolworth Building was built atop a swamp, so this cedar water tank was added to the basement in the ’70s to siphon out water that seeps up into the basement floor. It wasn’t used for long because the minerals from the water basically ate through the pipes. The water tank just sits pretty these days, in good shape protected from exterior elements.

3. All these Original Decorative Pieces from the top of the Woolworth are in the Basement

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This pile of decorative elements is a treasure trove for antique collectors. Originally at the top of the Woolworth Building, they deteriorated from the elements and starting breaking apart. You can imagine how dangerous it would be if one of the spikes fell the nearly 800 feet from the top onto the street. One of them is currently being used as a cast in order to create replacement railings for the building.

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4. Part of the Manhattan Project Was Headquartered in the Woolworth Building

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According to Roy, the Woolworth Building was where the Manhattan project managed its payroll and produced false identities. It’s indeed one of the places listed in this mapping of Manhattan Project locations in NYC.

5. The Doors in the Basement Once Led to the Subway

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Now closed off, the doors in the bike room area of the basement once led directly into the subway system.

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