Undercity

What it is:

Andrew Wonder was taken down into the underbelly and bowels of the New York city. We’ve all seen Miru Kim’s TED presentation, Joseph Brennan’s work on abandoned New York City subway stations and the recently opened for the riding public City Hall subway stop. What Wonder’s video adds to the whole is an atmosphere that can’t be captured by a still image alone. You can feel the adrenaline rush as they climb the Williamsburg bridge or stop because they spot police as they explain the repercussions if they get caught.

With both the NPR and The New York Times along the undercity of New York was explored. This clandestine operation is at once fueled by the understanding that the city as a concept is at once in decline and becoming the place where people want to flock to. This weird contradiction shows that the old city is being torn down for the new city, whatever that may be. Recently an onslaught of creative work has been catching popular attention on the web. You have the 100 abadoned homes in Detroit and the ruins of that same city. There is a sense that their histories are slipping away and we’re letting that happen. The stories of cities are hidden beneath all the muck that has accumulated over years of use. And reports like these are showing that the stories need to be preserved for later generations. Urban historians like Steven Duncan and explorers like Erling Kagge are the ones to go the distance and bring these stories to us.

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