The next stop is...

Duo set to traverse entire subway system. Why? ’Cause it’s there.

by amy zimmer / metro new york

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AUG 22, 2006

FLATIRON — Fueled by a mountain-climber’s determination to push oneself to the extremes of endurance — and by beef jerky — two New Yorkers plan to circumnavigate the subway system.

Matt Green, bottom, and Don Badaczewski strategized yesterday in Badaczewski’s girlfriend’s apartment for the most efficient route for their subway trek. The two met at the University of Virginia where they immediately began embarking on such challenges as eating 16 tacos and then running a mile barefoot. They hope straphangers will provide them with some beef jerky — only beef jerky. Or, maybe a taco afterward. (Photo: Aharon Rothschild/Metro)

Matt Green, 26, and Don Badaczewski, 24, plan to set off tomorrow at 6 a.m. from the shuttle train stop at Rockaway Park in Queens and arrive at Pelham Bay Park on the 6 train in just under 24 hours. That’s what’s needed to beat the current record: 25 hours, 11 minutes, set in 1998 by Michael Falsetta and Salvatore Babones, both 28 at the time.

“We figured, [the subway] is there and someone should do this, so why not us,” said Badaczewski, a University of Michigan law student interning here this summer. “We’ve spent a lot of Saturday nights devoted to this project.”

For five months, they’ve poured over subway maps to find the route with the fewest transfers and they’ve fine-tuned their strategy with this week’s service advisories. (For instance, they’ll ride the L train during the day so they won’t take any shuttle buses.) They’ve visited the roughly 60 transfer stations to check which car is closest to the stairway for their next train.

“I’m not going to push any old ladies out of the way, but I’m going to run,” Badaczewski said. “When you’re doing something like this, you’re not worried about looking more stupid.”

What about bathroom breaks?

“This is an endurance test,” said Green, a transportation engineer from Bay Ridge. “We’ll be holding it in as long as possible and drinking as little as possible. I think we’ll only eat beef jerky in hopes it will be both meager and constipating.”

Falsetta, an executive at a real estate firm, remembers drinking just one liter of water and eating three Power Bars. Babones, a sociology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, said, “We took 10 minutes off and missed a transfer at Jamaica station so that we could use the restrooms there.”

Babones doubted their record would be broken, but his partner said they “would come out of retirement and issue a challenge” if their record fell.

Green and Badaczewski hope strangers will come to watch them and they’ve set up a phone number for people to hear location updates (718-407-4697).

“We were thinking of giving people free beef jerky if they recognize us,” Green said. “We would accept beef jerky from them as well.”

“We like tacos also,” Badaczewski said.

“We’ll have to save that for after the trip,” Green said. “We’d be in favor of anyone willing to throw us a party when we finish.”

No one’s offered yet, and Badaczewski said their girlfriends haven’t offered to pick them up at the finish line.

“I don’t think we should mention that we have girlfriends,” Green told his compatriot. “We want people to think we’re nerds and say, ‘We can do it, too.’”

Subway stats

• There are 26 subway lines;

• 660 track miles; and

• 468 stations.

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