Editor’s note: This article was published before the coronavirus pandemic, and may not reflect the current situation on the ground.

For six years, Matt Green walked along every street of New York City’s five boroughs. His footsteps have been recorded through a blog and a documentary called The World Before Your Feet. Michele Herrmann finds out why he wanted to explore his hometown in this way.

New Yorkers walk around a lot. But since 2012, city resident Matt Green has taken a different stride.

He’s been continuing a personal trek that’s gone over 12,000 kilometers (8,000 miles) and extends not only to streets and neighborhoods, but also cemeteries, beaches, wetlands and other public areas, covering all five boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

“I was familiar with the city in some ways, but I was also aware of how much of it there always is,” says Green, a native Virginian who moved to NYC in 2005. “I was curious about it because I’ve lived here for so long and there’s way more to it than I could ever see in a lifetime.”

At first, it’s easy to assume that his wanderings around NYC are about acting as a tourist in his own backyard or driven by an interest in self-discovery, but this ongoing journey has resulted from adopting a simpler, more spiritual way of living.