When Casey and I met, I proposed we walk to all of the wastewater treatment plants in the five boroughs. She agreed for the novelty of it, but quickly became just as obsessed with it as I was. There aren’t that many, but they’re in out-of-the-way places that were surprisingly interesting.
That quickly turned into quests to:
walk through every neighborhood in the five boroughs(complete)
- walk over every bridge in New York City that has pedestrian access (nearly finished)
- visit every Carnegie Library in New York City (hard to tell, as there’s no comprehensive list)
- ride every MTA line end-to-end (almost there)
ride every commuter rail line to the terminus(abandoned because it was kind of awful)
- visit every major NYC park (in the works)
- visit every WPA site in NYC (in progress)
We’re keeping track on our Trello board. Neither of us are new to obsessive behavior – Casey once drove cross-country eating only at Crackerbarrel and I once tried, and failed, to live off tacos exclusively until I’d eaten my literal weight in tacos.
We are in good company with our obsessions.
Axel is working on photographing all of New York City’s subway stations empty. Another friend is going even further — he’s working on taking a nude portrait of himself in each station.
Colin is half-joking about visiting every copy of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s Deacon Samuel Chapin sculpture.
Surely we’ve all gotten a little overly passionate about a cataloging project. There must be someone out there who’s working on visiting all of Joseph Beuys’ 7000 Oaks right now. Or visiting every food cart. Or napping at every IKEA. Or finding every recorded address of their ancestors and seeing who lives there now.
Here are the obsessive catalogers of New York that I know of —
James Gulliver Hancock
Every block in Manhattan
Every block in all five boroughs
Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata
Bodega cats are a serious obsession for New Yorkers collectively.
Colin, the Slice Harvester
Now it’s every slice, even if it’s $3.
Every Starbucks in Manhattan
Every subway station in Manhattan
Municipal Arts Society
I also made a map of NYC’s POPS while I was living abroad. We all deal with homesickness in our own way, eh?
And then there are the obsessive questions —
And then there’s Ben Wellington with I Quant NY.
And then there are those of us with obsessions that can’t be contained by boroughs —
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Who am I forgetting? Let me know in the comments.