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City College Professor Pens Book About Walking 6,048 Miles Of NYC

William Helmreich Has Walked 6,048 Miles, Has 300 More To Go
City College sociology professor William Helmreich wrote a book about effort to walk every block of NYC. (credit: CCNY)

City College sociology professor William Helmreich wrote a book about effort to walk every block of NYC. (credit: CCNY)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A local college professor started walking the city a few years ago and didn’t stop.

As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, William Helmreich wanted to write about New York – all of it.

“And I said to myself, ‘how do you climb a mountain?’ As they say one step at a time, I’ll walk the city one block at a time,” Helmreich told Silverman.

The City College sociology professor set out to walk every inch of the city four years ago and has so far walked 6,048 miles of it.

“Because you never know when the interesting thing that makes your day, that makes it all worthwhile is going to happen,” Helmreich told Silverman. “I would’ve missed the church that at one time did exorcisms in the Bronx. I would’ve never learned about the Harlem bike doctor, a man who listens to broken bikes with a stethoscope.”

Helmreich talked to the people he’s encountered along the way.

“I even went over to a group of what I assumed to be gang members of the Bloods and I said to them ‘can I get a red jacket like that?’ And they said ‘well, it depends on who you are.’ And we all laughed,” Helmreich told Silverman. “Everybody talked to me.”

He’s compiled all his stories into a book called “The New York Nobody Knows,” even though he hasn’t yet finished his walking tour of the entire city.

“Thank God I’m blessed with a good memory,” Helmreich said. “I’m trying to finish those 300 miles now actually.”

“New York City is the world’s greatest outdoor museum,” said Helmreich.

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