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The mole people : life in the tunnels beneath New York City / Jennifer Toth.


1st ed.. Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, [1993] .
ISBN 1556521901, 155652241X, 9781556522413

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HV4506.N6 T68 1993 Available Request
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HV4506.N6 T68 1993eb
Subjects New York (N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.) -- Social conditions.
New York (State) -- New York.
Obdachloser.
Ondergrondse ruimten.
Social conditions
Thuislozen.
Tunnel.
Tunnels.
Underground homeless persons -- New York (State) -- New York.
Underground homeless persons.
Description x, 267 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Copyright Date [1993]
©1993
Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-260) and index.
Summary Thousands of people live in the subway, railroad, and sewage tunnels that form the bowels of New York City. This book is about them, the so-called "mole people" living alone and in communities, in the frescoed waiting rooms of long-forgotten subway tunnels and in pick-axed compartments below busway platforms. It is about how and why people move undergraound, who they are, and what they have to say about their lives and the treacherous "topside" world they've left behind. There are even the voices of young children taken down to the tunnels by parents who are determined to keep their families together, although as one tunnel dweller explains, "once you go down there, you can't be a child anymore." Though they maintain an existence hidden from the world aboveground, tunnel dwellers form a large and growing sector of the homeless population. They are a diverse group, and they choose to live underground for many reasonssome rejecting society and its values, others reaffirming those values in what they view as purer terms, and still others seeking shelter from the harsh conditions on the streets. Their enemies include government agencies and homeless organizations as well as wandering crack addicts and marauding gangs. In communities underground, however, many homeless people find not only a place but also an identity. On these pages Jennifer Toth visits underground New York with various straight-talking guides, from outreach workers and transit police to vetern tunnel dwellers, graffiti artists, and even the "mayor" of a large, highly structured community several levels down. In addition to chilling and poignant firsthand accounts of tunnel life, she describes the fascinating and labryrinthine physical world beneath the city and discusses the literary allusions and historical points of view that prejudice our culture against those who "go underground". Toth has gained unprecedented access to a strange and frightening world, but The Mole People is not a daredevil journalistic account of a foreign place. It is one young woman's personal examination of her society, the despair it permits and her own inherited prejudices and fears. It is a thoughtful exploration of our times, when rising levels of urban poverty, drug addiction, and mental illness coincide with shortages in low-income housing, diminishing welfare services, and crime and brutality on the streets. With clarity and compassion this book exposes people too long hidden from view, individuals helping one another and even hoping for a better life as they struggle to survive their cruel portion of America.
Contents 1 Finding a Home 7 -- 2 Seville's Story 11 -- 3 Mac's War 29 -- 4 The Underground Population 35 -- 5 Underground Spaces 43 -- 6 The Bowery 49 -- 7 Living with the Law 59 -- 8 Hell's Kitchen 73 -- 9 Children 77 -- 10 Roots 87 -- 11 Bernard's Tunnel 97 -- 12 Tunnel Art 119 -- 13 Graffiti 129 -- 14 Runaways 135 -- 15 Tunnel Outreach 151 -- 16 Dark Angel 165 -- 17 The Underground in History, Literature, and Culture 169 -- 18 Wanderers 181 -- 19 Harlem Gang 183 -- 20 J.C.'s Community 191 -- 21 "City of Friends" 203 -- 22 Women 213 -- 23 Jamall's Story 229 -- 24 Blade's Piece 237.
Geographic Area New York (State)
Network Numbers (OCoLC)28222007
(OCoLC)ocm28222007
WorldCat Search OCLC WorldCat
WorldCat Identities Toth, Jennifer.
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