Don’t Try This at Home: Undercity

People Places

The sewer under Greene Street was only four feet high. It got smaller and smaller, until they were forced on hands and knees, then eventually on their bellies. Crawling through raw sewage. The ceiling was higher on Canal Street, they report, but the floor was caked with so much feces they sank in it like quicksand. They were turned back by an impassable mountain of waste.

“The Wilderness Below Your Feet,” The New York Times, December 31, 2010

I am becoming obsessed by the media juggernaut developing around urban explorer and photographer Steve Duncan these last couple of days. On January 2, I listened to an audio diary on NPR‘s “All Things Considered” of just one 7-day, 25-mile journey in New York’s “undercity,” and was immediately hooked. By January 3, I was reading about this same excursion online in The New York Times and on Boing Boing. Duncan, an urban history PhD candidate at University of California, has crawled through tunnels and sewers and up bridges world-wide filming himself in order to document the complexity that exists in the urban spaces around us.

[To read more about Andrea Schwalm’s fascination with sewers, visit GeekMom!]

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