In my Sunday 3.25.2012 New York Times Digest, there appeared an article called “Leaving His Footprints on the City.” It was my first introduction to Matt Green, who was attempting “to walk every street in every borough of New York City” including “parks, paths, cemeteries and occasional overlaps.”
I recall checking out Green’s blog briefly and then filing him and his quixotic project away in the back of my head somewhere under “other weirdos who are interested in walking as epistemology.”
Recently, though, I came across and watched the 2018 documentary about Green and his walking project: The World Before Your Feet.
Here’s the trailer:
If you’re interested in walking like I am, or in New York City, or simply in documentaries about people who march to the beat of their own drum (to borrow a phrase from Thoreau, one of history’s great walkers), I recommend it to you.
After watching it, I feel like it’s not a stretch to say that Green has an understanding of NYC that few, if any, other human beings have, or ever have had. What’s more, it is an understanding that you can have of your own city or town, provided you are able to walk it — though, as Green’s example suggests, to really walk a city isn’t easy.