Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration

Moses Gates, Author
Moses Gates. Tarcher, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-58542-934-9
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013
Release date: 03/21/2013
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-101-60276-8
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Urban exploration with Gates makes for wildly entertaining reading. Whereas most travel authors highlight the museums, fashionable streets, and restaurants of the great cities of the world, Gate’s passion lies elsewhere. He revels in surmounting contrived barriers, whether in New York, Paris, or Ukraine. “We live our whole lives as prisoners of artificial boundaries—boundaries put in place not by mountains, rivers, or walls but by people and institutions who tell us that they’re there.” Gates chronicles his exploits exploring subway tunnels in New York and Stockholm; climbing the Lateran Obelisk sewers in Rome; ringing a bell on the top of Norte Dame; and traipsing through abandoned buildings in Brazil. Gates, an urban planner and licensed New York City tour guide, has a practiced eye for seeing the details of off-the-radar environments, as well as the peculiar qualities of the characters that pursue out-of-the-ordinary urban adventures. His memoir also describes facing adulthood after he loses his job his marriage breaks up. “After I turned thirty, I found myself shivering in an abandoned firehouse across from a power plant. After I turned thirty-five, I found myself in a rusting emergency train exit under a park. I don’t want to turn forty and find myself hanging out in a steam tunnel.” A solidly entertaining ride for those seeking a gritty travel experience. (Apr.)
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