Always insatiably curious about history and storytelling and always seeking adventure with other explorers, Amanda was drawn to the unique experiences the Atlas Obscura community offered in NY and around the world. This global community has created a comprehensive database of the world’s most wondrous places and foods to explore and enjoy - from a secret apartment atop the Eiffel Tower to an island ruled by cats, and from a fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding to a spicy chutney made out of red ants.
An old friend from ad agency days, Larissa Hayden became the newly appointed Deputy Director of Events for Atlas Obscura in 2017 and invited Amanda to check out a few events and start off as a volunteer to learn more about large-scale experiential events. Amanda helped the Atlas Obscura NY Event team with several partnership events with Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY in 2017 and covered some of her experiences with the Atlas Obscura team in recaps for Nooklyn’s Events column in 2018.
A key volunteer for the first and second gatherings of The Secret Mausoleum Club, the annual Into The Veil experience, and The Great Forgotten Garden Party throughout 2017 and 2018, Amanda helped with checking in attendees at the gate, setting up for the performances, as well as helping the team with breakdown at the end of each event.
The Secret Mausoleum Club was an immersive experience of intimate after-hours gatherings in the historic cemetery to celebrate legends, legacies, and lore, Amanda ran around in the dark guiding attendees with a lantern in one hand and a stick of cotton candy in the other. Unique experiences and performances took place in mausoleums across the cemetery that attendees were free to explore. The first gathering was inspired by Coney Island’s boardwalk with carnival games scattered throughout the candle list paths that led them into the final resting places of William F. Mangels (an amusement park ride manufacturer), William Ulmer (the founder of Brooklyn’s Ulmer Brewery), and Charles Feltman (the inventor of the hot dog), amongst others. The second gathering paid homage to the tragic story of a Native American princess, Do Hum Mee.
All above The Secret Mausoleum Club photos were taken by Larissa Hayden | https://www.larissahayden.com
Amanda continued to explore event production with the Atlas Obscura team, helping with promotion and check-in for the third annual Into The Veil event in 2017 and 2018, with over 4,000+ attendees exploring the grounds over the course of two nights in 2018 alone. Usually closed to the public, the catacombs were opened for the two special nights in 2018. By the entrance of the catacombs, living candelabras dripped milky candle wax, and deeper into the cemetery, several musical acts and performance artists played stunning and strange music that echoed amongst the mausoleums and trees. Among the cemetery’s 560,000 graves, guests sipped cocktails, peered at headstones, and simply enjoyed the darkness.
All above Into The Veil Photos at Greenwood Cemetery were taken by Steven Acres | https://www.stevenacr.es/
The summer of 2017 and summer of 2018, Amanda also helped with the annual The Great Forgotten Garden Party. In 2018 she covered the event for the Nooklyn Events column - shooting pictures and recapping the incredible evening of performances and picnicking. Hidden upstate by the Hudson River, statues of sphinxes tower over the embarkment, crumbling tiles line the remembrance of an elaborate mosaic pool, and 2,000-year-old imported Roman columns frame a dramatic view of the Palisades. Atlas Obscura and the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy curated an experience of wonder and beauty, inviting attendees to explore the garden and delighting in otherworldly performances of music and dance where ancient mythology and modern legends entwined.
Attendees were transported back to the golden years of the Greystone Estate, when Mrs. Minnie Untermyer hosted artists and performers and Samuel Untermyer roamed the property with a white orchid in his lapel. When Untermyer passed in 1940, the daunting cost of upkeep left his gardens led to the property falling into ruin. Victim to vandalism and overgrowth, by the mid-1970s Untermyer Park had gained a dark reputation as a gathering place for occult activities. In the nearly 50 years since, the gardens have been revitalized and restored by the conservancy and open to the public for in-depth tours and events.