A new documentary celebrates the New York City our readers love: the unknown. In The World Before Your Feet, audiences journey alongside Matt Green, a New York City-based urban explorer who has vowed to walk all 8,000-plus miles of the city’s walkways. Director Jeremy Workman and producer Jesse Eisenberg have captured more than 500 hours of footage, which includes little-known historical anecdotes and memorable interactions with Green’s neighbors. The result is the most comprehensive guided tour of New York City to date.
Before World can whisk viewers through the city’s graveyards and business districts, it must introduce the star. Thirty-eight-year-old Green is a former civil engineer who forwent his career and apartment in favor of the road less traveled – literally. In 2010, Green spent five months trekking 3,000-miles from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. He didn’t stop when he got there, either. The following year, Green began the project that’s at the center of World, which allows (or forces, depending on one’s perspective) him to subsist on about $15 a day and the occasional cat-sitting gig.
Green and locals in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Image from Greenwich Entertainment press kit.
The question likely to be on the tips of audiences’ tongues is one Green fields often: Why? It’s a fair question. “For me, there’s a big difference between reading about a place and being there in person. What it feels to stand in front of it, to touch it, to discover something about it. All of a sudden it comes alive to me.” Matt’s motivations echo the other New Yorkers we have profiled in the past who have fixated on a very specific mission, often tracking an element of the city’s disappearing urban fabric: “The people in the world who captivate me the most are people who do something because they want to do it..maybe that other people think is stupid. It’s helped me find more satisfaction in the basic stuff of life.” Director Workman explained to Curbed NY that “we live in this Instagram era and what [Green is] doing is sort of anti that. . . It’s not about quickly snapping something cool and going to the next thing. It’s about slowing down and processing it”.
Green on the High LIne. Image from Greenwich Entertainment press kit.
From the former site of New York City’s Municipal Slave Market to the United States’ first birth control clinic, to the wall that still shows the 1920 bombing of Wall Street, the city’s oldest fence at Bowling Green, and the Statue of Liberty, World presents plenty to process. At Untapped Cities, we’ve often shared the photographs from his website I’m Just Walkin’ (and his accompanying Flickr account) to illustrate locations few have photographed. Catch The World Before Your Feet at the Quad Cinema in the East Village, which has recently extended the film’s run.
Green and Jeremy Workman. Image from Greenwich Entertainment press kit.
Next, join our Secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge Walking tour this weekend!