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Author explores Empire State

The battlefield wouldn't be the only piece of area past that Northam would encounter as he boarded the U.S.S. Slater, the only remaining World War II Cannon Class Destroyer Escort left afloat in the United States.

While uncovering the state's "unsung heroes" Northam was surprised by the changing face of the state's larger cities.

"What's been enlightening to me," said Northam, "is the cosmopolitan and funky nature of metropolitans like Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester."

In Buffalo, Northam said, he bathed Buki, an 8,000 pound elephant at the Buffalo Zoo and in Syracuse he viewed the toothpick city at the Museum of Science and Technology featuring, what he called, 30 of the world's architectural gems, built to scale with toothpicks and glue.

A Manhattanite, Northam said he prefers to avoid visiting places when they're jammed with people, something, he said, he sees enough of a home.

"I focus on off-season travel," said Northam, who, for instance, said, "I would avoid Saratoga in track season like the plague."

Northam, who climbed Whiteface with four 46'ers and rode a stagecoach in Cattaraugus County, said, "I fear boredom more than death."

It would seem that Northam is in no danger of succumbing to boredom anytime soon.

Northam is the author of "Globetrotter Dogma" and a travel columnist for The Improper, a New York-based monthly magazine seen by 500,000 readers from Manhattan to Montauk.

To read Northam's journal documenting his journey and to see pictures, visit www.iloveny.com/detour.

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