In this fascinating glimpse into the world of urban exploration, Moses Gates describes his trespasses in some of the most illustrious cities in the world from Paris to Cairo to Moscow.
Also, exclusive to this e-book, are firsthand accounts from the author's fellow travelers and family.
Gates is a new breed of adventurer for the 21st century. He thrives on the thrill of seeing what others do not see, let alone even know exists. It all began quite innocuously. After moving to New York City and pursuing graduate studies in Urban Planning, he began unearthing hidden facets of the city—abandoned structures, disused subway stops, incredible rooftop views that belonged to cordoned-off buildings. At first it was about satiating a nagging curiosity; yet the more he experienced and saw, the more his thirst for adventure grew, eventually leading him abroad. In this memoir of his experiences, Gates details his travels through underground canals, sewers, subways, and crypts, in metropolises spanning four continents.
In this finely-written book, Gates describes his immersion in the worldwide subculture of urban exploration; how he joined a world of people who create secret art galleries in subway tunnels, break into national monuments for fun, and travel the globe sleeping in centuries-old catacombs and abandoned Soviet relics rather than hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. They push each other further and further—visiting the hidden side of a dozen countries, discovering ancient underground Roman ruins, scaling the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges, partying in tunnels, sneaking into Stonehenge, and even finding themselves under arrest on top of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ultimately, Gates contemplates why he and other urban explorers are so instinctively drawn to these unknown and sometimes forbidden places—even (and for some, especially) when the stakes are high. Hidden Cities will inspire readers to think about the potential for urban exploration available for anyone, anywhere—if they have only the curiosity (and nerve!) to dig below the surface to discover the hidden corners of this world.
A self-styled urban explorer and certified New York City tour guide, Gates sees the world from unique vantage points: atop Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, underground in the ancient sewers of Rome, and across the many bridges, derelict buildings, and abandoned subway stations of New York City. He shares his experiences with a worldwide community of fellow urban explorers, all of whom are drawn to these forbidden challenges. One can hope that Gates wrote much of this memoir with his tongue firmly in cheek, but at times he comes across as an overgrown teenager anxious to brag about stealing beer from a 7-11 in Stockholm, having sex with his "trooper" of a girlfriend on New York's Williamsburg Bridge, and generally outwitting fences, No Entry signs, and the police. The few, mostly black-and-white amateur photographs add little. VERDICT Readers intrigued by the novelty of Moses's story will find this a mildly entertaining read that can be continued on his blog, walkallcitynewyork.com. Those interested in unusual perspectives on the world's great cities will find many more interesting and better illustrated choices such as Dan Haga's Urban Atrophy and Sylvain and David Margaine's Forbidden Places: Exploring Our Abandoned Heritage.—Linda M. Kaufmann, Massachusetts Coll. of Liberal Arts Lib., North Adams
Moses Gates is an urban planner, licensed New York City tour guide, and visiting assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute. His explorations of New York have been featured on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, WNYC, and in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. He has given talks and consulted for books and television on hidden New York City, the Paris Catacombs, and urban exploration around the world. He lives in New York City.