As regular readers of this blog may know, we’re fans of urban exploring. Awhile back I was talking about that interest with a few friends on Twitter, and they shared a short film with me called Undercity. The film came out a year ago, but I hadn’t seen it until now. And it is suspenseful. The film was created by Andrew Wonder, who followed urban explorer Steve Duncan through the hidden and forgotten parts of New York City. In the first segment, they dodge trains, the deadly third rail, and the watchful eyes of people to find the City Hall station — a magnificent-but-now-closed stop on the subway. Screenshot 2015-07-04 00.55.47During their journey, the duo literally has to run several times, as well as duck behind walls to avoid getting caught. (This is a good post on how to see City Hall Station legally. And I can vouch that it does work.) Later, they go beneath the streets, where Duncan interviews people who have been living underground for decades. The interviews offer illuminating glimpses into a world that most of us will never experience. Screenshot 2015-07-04 01.00.52 Finally, Wonder and Duncan scale the Williamsburg bridge. Like, they literally climb up steel girders, without ropes (or permission), and end up with a towering view of Manhattan at night. Screenshot 2015-07-04 01.13.46The entire film is at once entertaining and insightful, with Duncan observing that there is something both beautiful and educational about witnessing the parts of a city that usually go unnoticed. And while most people may never have experiences quite as extreme as these, the idea that there is something meaningful in understanding places is something I strongly agree with. The entire film is only about 28 minutes long and is free to watch:

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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