William Helmreich spent four years walking every block in New York City.
Helmreich, 69, a sociology professor at the City University of New York, said it was a little crazy.
“It is a little meshuga,” Helmreich told CBS. “But in order to do something interesting, you sometimes have to be crazy.”
For those counting numbers, there are 120,000 blocks and 6,000 miles to walk in the city.
“If I had any idea how hard this would be, I never would’ve done it,” Helmreich said.
He added that he did it because he loves the city.
“The city’s fascinating to me. It’s the world’s greatest outdoor museum,” the lifelong New Yorker said.
He walked in all kinds of weather, hot and cold, rain and snow.
He’s compiled the results into a book called “The New York Nobody Knows,” which is listed as one of the Best Books of 2015 So Far by Amazon.
“His journey took him to every corner of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Helmreich spoke with hundreds of New Yorkers from every part of the globe and all walks of life. He finds that to be a New Yorker is to struggle to understand the place and to make a life that is as highly local as it is dynamically cosmopolitan,” according to the book’s description.
It’s going for $10 in its e-book form, about $23 hardcover, and about $15 paperback. The book includes maps of each borough and a neighborhood glossary.
The reviews that have come in so far are pretty good, with many of them 4 or 5 stars.
“Helmreich’s book is an engrossing and very informative sociological study of New York that is especially strong when covering the less-popular boroughs that are far less popular in the literature about the city,” said one.
“It was published by Princeton University Press and is certainly a valuable resource for any student of the field but The New York Nobody Knows is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in learning more about the city and its various and often colorful inhabitants.”