Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel) in Magdeburg, Germany

Grüne Zitadelle (Green Citadel) in Magdeburg, Germany

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The Grüne Zitadelle (or Green Citadel, in English) in the central German city of Magdeburg is a startling, whimsical, fanciful complex of apartments, shops, cafés, a hotel, and even a kindergarten. The last design of the late Austrian “alternative architect” Friedensreich Hundertwasser, he called his big pink project an “oasis for humanity and nature in a sea of rational houses.”

The striking building took two years to complete, and was christened in 2005. If it looks irrational, it’s mostly by comparison to its neighbors in and around Magdeburg’s Cathedral Square. Here there is a mix of Baroque and classical styles, as seen in its Gothic cathedral, 11th century Romanesque monastery, and the State Parliament. But none of those are pink, and zero sport a roof made of grass.

As one of the first prefabricated slab buildings constructed in Germany, its style, color, sensibility, and construction methods have all come together to help transform the otherwise staid central district of this small city. In the course of this one block’s transformation, Hundertwasser’s crowning architectural achievement fits into the unique ensemble of old edifices, and what you might call middle aged (many might call cold) post-war architecture seen in some of the vicinity’s commercial buildings. But the Green Citadel has snuggled right in, while at the same time remaining the antithesis of both.

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May 1, 2017 at 10:02AM

Morin-ji Temple in Tatebayashi-shi, Japan

Morin-ji Temple in Tatebayashi-shi, Japan

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Tanuki statues

Many local myths surround the ancient Morin-ji temple in Tatebayashi, and what they all have in common is a teapot and a raccoon dog. 

One legend tells the tale of a monk named Shukaku who lived in the temple and had a special kama or teapot, that never ran out of water. One day, his fellow monk finds out he is actually a tanuki, a Japanese raccoon dog, which had received a sermon from Buddha and transformed himself into a monk using magic. He put a spell on the kama, too. Shukaku leaves the temple immediately after his fellow monk notices what he actually is, leaving his kama behind.

A similar folktale is called Bunbuku Chagama, meaning “bubbling over with happiness”. In it, a kindly man sets a tanuki caught in a trap free, and to thank him, the raccoon dog changes into a teapot and asks the man to sell it for some money. A monk buys the kama and attempts to boil water in it. The kama screams “Ouch” and turns into a half-kama, half-tanuki creature, and runs back to his saviour. The two stay together and make money by displaying the kama-tanuki as a roadshow attraction.

In honor of these stories, the Japanese temple, built in 1426, is decorated with a row of 21 tanuki statues to welcome visitors, along with a smiling kama-tanuki. The temple also has a small museum, featuring the legendary kama and a collection of tanuki-related items.

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May 1, 2017 at 09:50AM

Morin-ji Temple in Tatebayashi-shi, Japan

Morin-ji Temple in Tatebayashi-shi, Japan

http://ift.tt/2qps02i

Many local myths surround the ancient Morin-ji temple in Tatebayashi, and what they all have in common is a teapot and a raccoon dog. 

One legend tells the tale of a monk named Shukaku who lived in the temple and had a special kama or teapot, that never ran out of water. One day, his fellow monk finds out he is actually a tanuki, a Japanese raccoon dog, which had received a sermon from Buddha and transformed himself into a monk using magic. He put a spell on the kama, too. Shukaku leaves the temple immediately after his fellow monk notices what he actually is, leaving his kama behind.

A similar folktale is called Bunbuku Chagama, meaning “bubbling over with happiness”. In it, a kindly man sets a tanuki caught in a trap free, and to thank him, the raccoon dog changes into a teapot and asks the man to sell it for some money. A monk buys the kama and attempts to boil water in it. The kama screams “Ouch” and turns into a half-kama, half-tanuki creature, and runs back to his saviour. The two stay together and make money by displaying the kama-tanuki as a roadshow attraction.

In honor of these stories, the Japanese temple, built in 1426, is decorated with a row of 21 tanuki statues to welcome visitors, along with a smiling kama-tanuki. The temple also has a small museum, featuring the legendary kama and a collection of tanuki-related items.

Travel

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May 1, 2017 at 09:48AM

Smart Cities NYC ‘17: First of a Kind Expo at Brooklyn Navy Yard About Urban and Civic Innovation

Smart Cities NYC ‘17: First of a Kind Expo at Brooklyn Navy Yard About Urban and Civic Innovation

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Image via the Brooklyn Navy Yard

In today’s technology-driven world, building a better, safer and “smarter” city goes hand-in-hand with the development of innovative infrastructure and urban technologies. As the most populous city in the United States, New York City is consistently juggling urban challenges ranging from cyber security to the future of employment. This year, from May 3-6, it will host Smart Cities NYC ’17: Powered by People, a “first of its kind” conference and expo that will focus on the intersection of technology and urban life, as well as the importance of citizen participation in urban and civic innovation around the world.

Image via Smart Cities NYC

Hosted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (which serves as a powerful example of the possibilities for reimagined urban space), the 4-day event will bring together industry leaders, technology pioneers, city officials, and policymakers from around the world, giving them a platform to share and exchange ideas with millions of people. The conference will also include discussions, special events and more than 20 educational workshops that focus on topics like workforce development, public private partnerships, technology for social good, sustainability, resilience, and equity.

Guests include Dan Doctoroff (CEO, Sidewalk Labs), Alicia Glen (Deputy Mayor NYC), Ed Pallesen (SVP, Goldman Sachs), Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr (Director General, Smart Dubai), Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Tony Coscia (Chairman of the Board, Amtrak), Michael Stevens (CIO, City of Columbus) and Patrick Foye (Port Authority of NY&NJ).

The SCNYC17 conference and expo will be hosted at the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard from May 3-6. Untapped Cities readers will receive a 25% discount with the code SCNYC17. For more information, click here.

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 Brooklyn Navy Yard, Smart Cities NYC ‘17

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May 1, 2017 at 09:12AM

Found: The Hoof of Napoleon’s Horse, Hiding in a Cottage Drawer in England

Found: The Hoof of Napoleon’s Horse, Hiding in a Cottage Drawer in England

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Napoleon and his steed.
Napoleon and his steed. Jacques-Louis David/Public domain

Back in 1815, during the Battle of Waterloo, the British army captured Napoleon’s horse, alive. The stallion, named Marengo, was sold to a member of the Grenadier Guards, who brought the horse back to his family farmhouse in Somerset. When Marengo died in 1831, the family had his two front hooves mounted in silver and kept them as keepsakes.

The family also preserved the horse’s skeleton and for many year it has been on display—it’s now at the National Army Museum in London.

One of those silver-plated front hooves went to the officers’ mess at St. James’s Palace, where it still resides today. The other, though, was lost.

Marengo's skeleton, at the National Army Museum.
Marengo’s skeleton, at the National Army Museum. Emőke Dénes/CC BY-SA 2.5

But recently a descendant of Marengo’s original British owners re-discovered the hoof. It was in a plastic bag, The Times reports, “at the back of a kitchen drawer in a Somerset farmhouse once one by the wealthy family who bought Marengo.” It’s now on loan to the Household Cavalry Museum in London, still separated from the horse’s skeleton but found at last.

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May 1, 2017 at 09:12AM

Abandoned Comet Diner in Hartford, Connecticut

Abandoned Comet Diner in Hartford, Connecticut

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Just down the street from Mark Twain’s house and museum in Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the city’s other most recognizable buildings, a vintage chrome and steel diner, glinting in the sun. The old Comet Diner, however, has been sadly left abandoned for nearly 20 years.

One of the old Paramount diners, it opened in 1948 as the Aetna diner, before becoming the Comet, a friendly, familiar fixture in Hartford that once served Zsa Zsa Gabor. Paramount diners were built in a single floor, railroad car shape, in what was known as the "Streamline Moderne" design in Oakland, New Jersey.

With their distinctive curved edges, Paramounts were the first single-story diners to offer an all stainless steel exterior, the now iconic look of a vintage American diner. But while others have been preserved on the National Register of Historic Places, the Comet is in danger of being demolished.

The diner’s name was changed again, to Dishes, which is still bears today. But the threat of demolition was reprieved as recently as November, 2016. According to local press reports, the owner has plans for property development on the site currently being occupied by the iconic but empty old diner. The Hartford Preservation Alliance is constantly fighting to save the beautiful example of the diners that once were found throughout the United States, but have been torn down, one by one. Hartford is a city rich in history, from Mark Twain to Samuel Colt’s factory; hopefully the HPA will be able to save a small piece of it. 

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May 1, 2017 at 09:01AM

Abandoned Comet Diner in Hartford, Connecticut

Abandoned Comet Diner in Hartford, Connecticut

http://ift.tt/2oPKzQn

Just down the street from Mark Twain’s house and museum in Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the city’s other most recognizable buildings, a vintage chrome and steel diner, glinting in the sun. The old Comet Diner, however, has been sadly left abandoned for nearly 20 years.

One of the old Paramount diners, it opened in 1948 as the Aetna diner, before becoming the Comet, a friendly, familiar fixture in Hartford that once served Zsa Zsa Gabor. Paramount diners were built in a single floor, railroad car shape, in what was known as the "Streamline Moderne" design in Oakland, New Jersey.

With their distinctive curved edges, Paramounts were the first single-story diners to offer an all stainless steel exterior, the now iconic look of a vintage American diner. But while others have been preserved on the National Register of Historic Places, the Comet is in danger of being demolished.

The diner’s name was changed again, to Dishes, which is still bears today. But the threat of demolition was reprieved as recently as November, 2016. According to local press reports, the owner has plans for property development on the site currently being occupied by the iconic but empty old diner. The Hartford Preservation Alliance is constantly fighting to save the beautiful example of the diners that once were found throughout the United States, but have been torn down, one by one. Hartford is a city rich in history, from Mark Twain to Samuel Colt’s factory; hopefully the HPA will be able to save a small piece of it. 

Travel

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May 1, 2017 at 09:05AM

Airports to Check for Warrants Before Domestic Flights?

Airports to Check for Warrants Before Domestic Flights?

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“Can I fly with a warrant?” is a question that pops up often in FlyerTalk forums, even Google searches when people with legal problems (or “friends” with legal problems) want to fly.

And the answer from frequent fliers in the know, is often “no.” The TSA is not a law enforcement agency, and ID checks during domestic travel are purely visual. They, for the most part, glance to see if your name and face match what’s in front of them and you’re allowed to go on your way.

But at least one organization is worried that that could change.

There’s been a lot of upheaval in travel “vetting” during the trump administration. Electronic devices are now banned in the cabins of some flights, and international travelers from some countries are worried that they may not be able to travel freely in the United States at all.

And now new language in the Department of Homeland Security’s most recently-released data report reveals that there may be new “vetting” processes for domestic passengers — and that vetting may include screening for warrants.

While nothing in the language of the 2016 report specifically calls for warrant checks, several Watchdog groups are worried that the language may suggest that more scrutiny for domestic passengers is on its way down the pipeline.

 

 

You can read the full report here.

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May 1, 2017 at 08:47AM

Daily Cartoon: Monday, May 1st

Daily Cartoon: Monday, May 1st

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May 1, 2017 at 08:36AM

Announcing The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road

Announcing The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road

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Dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America” by Life Magazine in 1986, Nevada’s Highway 50 has captured the imagination of westbound travelers for decades. In the smartphone era, its remoteness (and signal-free zones) have taken on mythical proportions. Out here, majestic mountains and the vastness of the desert shield the road from the pace of modern life. Against a backdrop of rugged beauty, the mind has a rare chance to wander, undisturbed.

At Atlas Obscura, we believe that exploration has the power to transform you, and that the more unique the experience, the more likely you are to walk away inspired. That’s why Atlas Obscura is partnering with TravelNevada to send one artist on the road—specifically, the “Loneliest Road in America.”

“The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road” will award one artist (all mediums welcome!) with a full stipend to traverse Highway 50, from Ely to Carson City—solo. In addition to airfare and a rental car, Atlas Obscura will provide the recipient with $5,000 for lodging and other incidentals. While on the five-day trip, the selected artist will be expected to create a travelogue documenting the experience and artistic process. Upon returning home, we will work together to display the completed body of work on Atlas Obscura and TravelNevada’s channels.

Fellowship applications will be judge based on three broad criteria:

  • The originality and feasibility of the proposal
  • The plan to integrate Highway 50/Nevada into the work
  • The work’s ability to be displayed on digital channels

Click here to enter.

You have until May 19 to apply. Questions? Email elizabeth.horkley@atlasobscura.com.

Click here to read terms and conditions

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May 1, 2017 at 08:02AM