2015-02-25 / Front Page

A ‘Sitdown’ With One Of The City’s Urban Explorers

BY CATHERINA GIOINO

Atop the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion, a relic of the 1964-65 World’s Fair.Atop the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion, a relic of the 1964-65 World’s Fair.Most people find the idea of climbing bridges and skyscrapers to be preposterous, let alone achievable.


And then there are urban explorers. They are people who seek the hidden under what the average person sees every day. Urban explorers, in the most general sense, visit places of significance in their city, ranging from where a movie was filmed, to where a crime happened, or climbing atop a skyscraper for the best view possible. Adventurous thrill seekers and intellects, nothing excites them more as a new locale to scope out.


Of the many urban explorers who have made an impact on social media, “7expresstrain” is one of them.


In an online interview with the explorer who wishes to remain anonymous, 7expresstrain The homeless as photographed by “7expresstrain.” The homeless as photographed by “7expresstrain.” stated, “I’m a Queens-based photographer/explorer. I take interest in photographing areas that people rarely get to see. When I learned that there were places in the city that were never seen, yet curiously beautiful, I was more than intrigued and took it upon myself to explore them, regardless of the consequences.”


7expresstrain has been to places all over the city, both on the ground and not. His pictures include breathtaking views from building rooftops, walking along train tracks, atop bridges, to things the average person would see day to day, like deli fronts, bikes, trees, the subway and more.


“Obviously I’m extremely cautious. I do my research and make sure that my escapade is as safe as it could allow. I trust myself, which is vital for exploring. I used to go out every single night, exploring the depths of the subway and the heights that our city provides,” 7expresstrain said.


However, 7expresstrain has found the subject of his photos to be changing. “Lately, I’ve been more interested in street photography. Catching things people don’t normally see, or things they do see, but portraying it in a way that is relatable, interesting, and thought-provoking.”


Scrolling through his feed, one notices pictures of the homeless. They are people everyone sees but rarely takes the time to notice. 7expresstrain hopes to do the complete opposite and make them the subject. “One of the things I enjoy photographing is the homeless.

[Homelessness] is something everyone sees multiple times a day, and never thinks twice about. I think shedding light and treating these people like humans on a daily basis is extremely important. Realizing that they have a life just as complex as ours and having to live without a home is depressing, which is why I believe that we need to uncover that part of the city.”


Photos 7expresstrainPhotos 7expresstrainSeveral of 7expresstrain’s most poignant photos include an aerial view of the Hell Gate Bridge showing a blanketed homeless person sleeping on the cold subway platform. Another picture of a homeless man smiling features 7expresstrain’s caption of how he gave him a dollar and wished the man a Happy New Year, only to turn around and see that “Everyone was petrified to see that I stopped, shook his hand and treated him like a human. I was more petrified to realize that we live in a world full of decadence and selfishness, and that we can’t stop and acknowledge the presence of someone less fortunate.”


As for what was a place he had planned on going to for a while, 7expresstrain stated it was to “go up in the tower of the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Queens is a goldmine for photography. The streets are unique, the people are crazy and the ambience is great. But for me, the tower was a true goal.” Continuing about future plans, “I really look forward to working with companies doing marketing and advertising. I would love to shoot for a clothing brand and incorporate my work with theirs. A couple of companies have emailed me regarding work like this, which is really exciting.”


7expresstrain continues to post pictures on the Instagram account @7expresstrain and works with several other urban explorers to bring together a perfect layout of the unseen New York City.


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