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The City Concealed
The City Concealed, an online video series exploring the unseen corners of New York. Visit the places you don’t know exist, locations you can’t get into, or maybe don’t even want to. Each installment unearths New York’s rich history in the city’s hidden remains and overlooked spaces.

United Palace Theater

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Putting this piece together, I often found myself trying to describe the United Palace Theater to people who had never seen it. “It’s sort of Neo-Classical Cambodian, with influences of Hindu, Mayan, and Moorish architecture. Gilded and covered in red velvet.” I sounded ridiculous, but my description isn’t that far off the mark. Read More …

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Weeksville: An African-American Community Established in the 1800s

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The Hunterfly Road Houses of Weeksville are the discovered remnants of a free African-American enclave of urban trasdespeople and property owners.  The community provided safety for fugitive slaves and those later fleeing the Civil War draft riots of lower Manhattan.  By the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Weeksville was a thriving area with its own doctors, teachers, publishers, and social services. Read More …

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Up in the Fulton Ferry Hotel

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Students of New York’s literary history ought to be familiar with our latest location, the Fulton Ferry Hotel, at 92 and 93 South Street on Schermerhorn Row. Joseph Mitchell, author and chronicler of the five boroughs’ extraordinary ordinary citizens, immortalized the building in his 1952 New Yorker story, “The Cave,” later titled, “Up in the Old Hotel.” Read More …

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Inside Brooklyn Navy Yard

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Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of NYC’s largest pieces of intact — though decaying — history. Sprawling over nearly 300 acres, it has both current industrial tenants, and plans are in the works for adaptive reuse projects for some of the buildings. It’s living history, dotted by pockets of contemporary industry. Read More …

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Staten Island Rock Sculptures

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For this installment of The City Concealed, I ventured to the southern tip of Staten Island, near the ruins of the old Raritan Bay clamming industry. There, a lifelong Staten Islander, Doug Schwartz, has been creating rock sculptures on the beaches of Mount Loretto State Park for over a decade. Read More …

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Tombs & Catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery

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Green-Wood Cemetery is best known as the final resting place of famous New Yorkers like Boss Tweed, the Steinway family, and Leonard Bernstein, but it’s also a treasure trove of hidden sculpture and architecture. Read More …

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The Green-Wood Cemetery Designer's Impact on NYC Development

Major David Bates Douglass, Green-Woods designer and engineer, was to some degree, a ‘renaissance man’ of the 1800s. His early career was spent in the Army, but in some unusual roles: he not only had military successes, but accompanied an exploration/journey (The 1820 Cass Expedition) to the Michigan/Minnesota area, brought along to survey land and catalog both the geology and flora of the regions. He spent a stint in academic roles at West Point (as Professor of ‘Natural Philosophy’) and at the early CUNY, and later became (short-lived) President of Kenyon in Ohio. Green-Wood was his greatest success, but his impact was felt throughout the New York region. Read More …

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Up The Creek: "The City Concealed" Sets Sail on Newtown Creek

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You might catch a glimpse of Newtown Creek by traveling over one of its many bridges. But that glimpse doesn’t give you the scope of the creek’s importance to New York City’s development, or exactly why it has become a zone of contention in the NYC landscape.

The Creek is most-known for the well-publicized oil spill, to which it lends its name, that sits under a swath of Greenpoint, its neighbor to the south.

The creek runs a full 3.5 miles, bisecting Brooklyn and Queens. Most people barely know it exists. So what happens there, how did it become so overlooked, and was it always this way?

What we found was both beautiful and grotesque, heartening and depressing. Read More …

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Newtown Creek Clean-Up Efforts

Newtown Creek pollutionNewtown Creek, the 3.5 mile-long waterway that separates Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most polluted industrial sites in America. The creek water contains hundreds of years of discarded toxins, an estimated 30 million gallons of spilled oil, and raw sewage from New York City’s antiquated sewer system. To make matters worse, there is no current in the creek, and over the years the sludge has congealed into a 15-foot thick layer of “black mayonnaise” on the creekbed.

Creek advocates like the Newtown Creek Alliance and Riverkeeper argue the creek could be a wonderful recreational waterway for New York City. They imagine a marina and access to the creek’s banks. But before that can happen, the creek needs to be cleaned up. So what effort has been made to restore Newtown Creek? Here are brief descriptions of the most significant remediation plans to date. Read More …

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An Introduction

Thanks for checking out The City Concealed. The idea here is a simple one: We take you to historical locations around New York City that are either off-limits to the general public, or are otherwise difficult or impossible to see.

Being an old city, New York has hundreds of overlooked locales to explore. The idea first evolved as Forgotten New York meets Open House New York, only in video form.

Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York was helpful in getting us off the ground. Hopefully, in an upcoming episode, we’ll take a tour somewhere with Kevin. We’ve spoken with everyone from the National Parks Service to the New York Attorney General’s office in order to set up locations for you to see right here at a later date.

We’re going to do these about twice a month and we hope you’ll come along for the ride. Throw us in your RSS reader to keep up with our exploits. While you’re at it, tell us where we should go next. We’ll see you at the next stop.

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