5 Parts Of New York That Are Built On Garbage

New York was pretty much a cesspool in the 19th century. “We were a laughingstock,” as anthropologist and trash historian Robin Nagle once put it. But in an odd way, New York owes its current success to its refuse — after all, it’s built on the stuff.

8 Musical Instruments That Are So Much Fun They're Practically Toys

Playing music is supposed to be fun! Remember? Sometimes electronic instruments we choose to play are so complicated that using them is a chore, or at least requires a ton of practice. It doesn’t have to be that way.

What You Can See From The Tallest Observation Decks On Earth

It’s only been a few years since humans could climb more than 800m above the surface of the Earth without the help of jet fuel. It’s easy to forget that buildings that reach this high into the atmosphere are a new phenomenon in our world — at these heights, it’s more like aerospace engineering than architecture.

Picture: Bill Richards/Flickr

The Eerie Ruins Of 11 Abandoned Hotels

Tourism is a funny thing. Sometimes hot spots are hot, prompting opportunistic developers to build. And sometimes they’re not. (The outbreak of a civil war is a great way to shut down a tourist destination.) Photographer Dietmar Eckell has spent the past several years visiting the hotels and resorts that got left behind.

18 Terrifying Photos Of Ships In Trouble

The fight against Earth’s oceans is almost as old as humankind. Through millennia, humans have battled typhoons and waves as high as buildings. “To sail is necessary, to live is not necessary,” said Plutarch during a huge storm in the Mediterranean. Here are 18 photos that perfectly illustrate that idea.

37 Rare And Beautiful Images Of The NYC Subway In The 1980s

When most people think of the subway in the 1980s, they think of scary things. A few years ago The New York Times likened the state of the city to “a house of horrors“. But as a newly published set of nearly 500 photos show, New York City’s underground wasn’t always so horrific. It’s bizarrely beautiful in all its squalor.

These Failures Are The Worst Sports Mascots Ever Designed 

Creating a good, crowd-rousing, kid-pleasing mascot is more difficult than it might appear. Some just look too goofy. Others fall into the lowest crevasse in Uncanny Valley and scare the shit out of people. Most Olympic mascots end up being oddly sexual, creepy, scary or all three.

To Fix Midtown, You Must First Break Midtown 

New York has fantastic public transit. It’s by far the best in the country. Sorry not sorry. But there is one way in which it falls short: There are meagre ways to get across town, especially at critical points like 42nd street, where you must either choose NYC’s shortest and nastiest subway line or the snarling mess of street traffic.

The 25th Anniversary Icehotel Features An Ice Cinema

This year marks the 25th anniversary of crazy Swedes building an entire hotel out of ice each year. In celebration of decades of mostly redundant work, they have made an extra-special 25th anniversary edition, complete with ice chapel and ice movie theatre. And the bar, of course.

American Architects Pick The 11 Best Buildings Of The Year

There’s no better compliment — and no more blistering insult — than one from your peers, especially when it comes to professions that trade in super-specialised knowledge like architecture. So when your peers talk, you listen.