Open Secrets

Revealing the invisible city

A photograph of a clunky, rusted wall-mounted surveillance camera

How to Disappear

Is it possible to move through a smart city undetected?

The Invisible Network That Makes Cities Work

Despite fears of declining social capital and lack of faith in civic institutions, the “new trust economy” is thriving in urban areas.

Singapore, City of Sensors

They’re on buses, atop buildings, in parks, and inside drains as part of the island’s vision to become the world’s first “Smart Nation.” But what do they mean for privacy?

Women sit around a table drinking tea at the Hotel Roblin Paris in 1918.

Yes, Elite Women's Clubs Still Exist

In Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, members-only meetinghouses continue to occupy prime real estate.

A sign marks a nude beach in Germany.

Naked Germany, Straining at the Seams

Nudity, or Freikörperkultur, has long been a part of public life in Germany. Can it withstand an era of increasing globalization and tech?

An illustration of green parakeets strolling a crowded sidewalk in front of London's skyline

Chasing London's Cloud of Feral Parakeets

Tracking the green birds gave me a new vantage point on the city.

Cities Seek Deliverance From the E-Commerce Boom

It’s the flip-side to the “retail apocalypse:” A siege of delivery trucks is threatening to choke cities with traffic. But not everyone agrees on what to do about it.

An illustration of dancing figures reflected in the water beneath a docked riverboat

Grooving to the Oldies at New Orleans's Temple of Uncool

A dance party on a riverboat casino highlights tensions about the city’s self-image, and its future.

An overhead view of hands placing squares of colored class onto rectangular, cement "memory tile" in Buenos Aires

Sidewalks Full of Handmade Monuments to Buenos Aires's Disappeared

Grassroots organizations help families make “memory tiles,” recollections of the thousands who vanished under the last Argentinian dictatorship.

Exploring Richmond's Underground Music Scene

The city’s network of DIY venues has carved out a space for people to connect, fostering a resilient creative community.

The Secret Lives of Speakeasies

Decades before Prohibition, the unlicensed saloons of Pittsburgh flouted state liquor laws, fomented social movements, and started a national trend.

'No One Really Wants to Talk About It'

Despite recent progress, South Carolina still has a domestic violence problem.

Illustration of a figure standing in the water on a secluded beach in front of a mountain

Stealing Moments at Seattle's Hidden Beaches

“It was my secret, a private spot, which, like so many others like it, was public land.”

The Drew, Mississippi barn where Emmett Till was lynched in 1955.

Focusing on the Hidden Horror of American Lynchings

A British photojournalist is training his camera on the sites of the South’s ugliest open secret.

A woman walks down a street with her shadow caught in steam rising from the ground

Retracing the Steps of Trailblazing Women on Paris's Streets

New walking tours underline the overlooked contributions of female scientists, activists, and writers in the City of Light.

Illustration of a band on a neon-lit stage with audience members clinking beers

Inside Abu Dhabi's Most Rollicking Karaoke Joint

The crowd shouting requests at the Tambayan bar is as diverse as the UAE itself.

Riders on the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island

The Rituals of Coney Island's Opening Day

For locals, the urban amusement park season starts months before summer’s peak.

Illustration of trees poking out above and between apartment buildings and water towers on a New York City block

On the Trail of New York's Greatest Trees

One writer is setting out to find all 60 of the specimens on the city’s list of notable arbors amid the concrete.

Shadow of bicyclist against a wall

Hiding in Plain Sight

This week: Stories about the sort-of-secrets of the city.