New Yorkers are known for spending their free time taking leisurely strolls through the city’s numerous neighborhoods. They even use their feet as a means to learn by going on weekend walking tours to discover the history, the mystery, as well as the evolution of their favorite places—and there are certainly plenty of tours out there to serve all sorts of curiosities. But when William Helmreich decided he wanted to learn more about New York on foot, he took walking tours to another level. In fact, he decided to walk the entire city.
William is a sociology professor at The City College of New York and also teaches at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Over the course of four years, he has walked just about every block in New York City. It was an adventure William was primed for as a lifelong New Yorker who possesses a research interest in urban studies; his background allowed him to be at ease while speaking with city residents in the five boroughs, and he had the eagerness necessary to uncover hidden gems in the lesser known nooks and crannies of our metropolis. The culmination of William’s journey is his book, “The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in New York City,” which was published in 2013 and released last month in paperback.
We recently spoke with William about his long walk, and to find out what it taught him about New York.