Moses Gates reports on fun finds inside the Paris catacombs
Last fall we explored with Hidden Cities author, Moses Gates, in the largest Census tract in New York City, Co-Op City. Following the release of his book Hidden Cities, Moses became well-known for his exploration of the top of the Chrysler Building and supporting the re-opening of observations decks in New York City, now closed to the public.
But before this, Moses was known as a cataphile and urban explorer, with his vast experience in the underworld with Steve Duncan of UnderCity. As a follow-up to our roundup of catacombs around the world, we asked Moses some fun questions about his time in the catacombs:
What’s the most surprising thing in the Paris catacombs?
There are always, always, always surprises in the catas. People are always making things or painting things, or you’ll always run into interesting people. My favorite cata surprise was when we turned a corner and there was a dog (complete with headlamp) there. Turned out a group of cataphiles took their dog on the trip, but it was still freaky.
There’s also famous sculpture near the main entrance of a man emerging from a wall. Each time I go back, someone has dressed it differently. This last time he was dressed like Ronald McDonald.
What other catacombs have you explored around the world?
I’ve been in the Odessa catacombs, which are longer and more raw, and also a little bit of the Roman and Neopolitan ones, but these aren’t really a single network.
Any common misconceptions about catacombs?
The Paris catacombs are actually abandoned quarries, not specifically dug as burial grounds. It’s a very human-made environment.
Moses Gates is doing a 14- mile walk from the least diverse to the most diverse Census Tracts in the five boroughs this Sunday, June 23rd. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.