With the recent storm (Sandy) that hit New York and caused massive flooding, I wondered how all that water that would affect the various underground infrastructure in the city. Specifically, what would happen to all those various parts of the subway system and tunnels that have been closed off and abandoned over the years? Couple that with my fascination with urban exploration, and this was a logical book to check out... New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City by Julia Solis. While it's not an exhaustive encyclopedia covering the history of subterranean New York, it does have some interesting information and great pictures.
Solis has spent plenty of time exploring what lies below street level in New York, so she's got the "been there, saw that" experience. The book covers a variety of topics, such as the subway system, underground utilities, tunnels, and foundations. Rather than trying to provide a comprehensive account of everything that's happened from the first dig until now (now being 2004 when the book was published), she relates the important background and interesting facts that drove some of her underground exploration. That format provides a good format for her to share various photographs, both from her own camera and those taken by others over the years. It's quite easy to get lost in the images, as they are sights that most people will never see (or areas that no longer exist). It left me wondering what damage was done during the storm floods that will never be discovered, or that will only be discovered when it causes an active portion of the system to fail.
New York Underground doesn't take that long to read, but it's an interesting tour through parts of New York long since forgotten or abandoned. It made me wonder what other secrets are still buried...
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
"Want to know what's amazing underneath New York City? Want to know about all the stuff that you'd never guess is below Manhattan, including everything from secret subway stations to cave crickets? Then start digging into Julia Solis' anatomical report on the Big Subterranean Apple, which is dark and deep and, despite eight million people living on top of it, largely unknown." - Robert Sullivan, Author of Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants