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The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City Paperback – Nov 29 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (Nov. 29 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300065590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300065596
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 24.2 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 617 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,268,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Morton's four-year photographic journey takes place in a structure that was created by Robert Moses in 1934 in order to hide the Hudson River Railroad from the expensive apartments on Riverside Drive. When the rail line was closed down in the 1970s, this concrete tunnel stretching from 72nd Street to 125th Street along the Hudson River became a shelter for a large community of homeless people who are now being forced out as a result of neighborhood pressure. Using both text and 60 duotone photographs, Morton offers a sympathetic, multidimensional and powerfully humane portrait of this invisible neighborhood. Many residents have lived in the tunnel for 10 years or more, creating homes which in both cleanliness and amenities (appliances, pets, art?one residence includes a wall-sized mural based on Goya's moving May 3, 1808) disprove many common assumptions about the homeless. The text, drawn from interviews with the tunnel's residents, is a poignant sometimes surprisingly optimistic accompaniment to her pictures of a persistently nocturnal place pierced by rays of light. "Once the weather really breaks and gets warm, certain seeds will drop through the grate from up top and things sprout over there," says one resident, adding, "I always throw the melon seeds of the watermelon, and they sprout and the vines will grow down the hill. And they always end up dying, but whatever. It's just good to see something green over there. That's why I do it all the time." This is an impressive suite of photographs and voices that need to be seen and heard.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Like a present-day Jacob Riis, Morton (art, Cooper Union) seeks to bring to light the hidden lives of New York City's desperately poor. In an Amtrak tunnel, stretching 50 blocks under the West Side Highway beside the Hudson River, a group of homeless have managed to carve out for themselves a community unlike any other in New York. Morton enters their lives and their cavernous, dark, and often well-appointed dwellings. Living as scavengers, they have managed to find furniture and pots and pans. They recycle cans to buy food and sometimes liquor and drugs. Morton combines photographs of the tunnel with soliloquys from 14 residents, who discuss their lives and jobs before the tunnel, plans for life afterwards, and the reasons they arrived there in the first place. At times it seems that their musings are edited to hold the reader's sympathy; however, by and large, the accounts feel genuine. The reproductions of Morton's well-composed photographs are a little flat. Recommended for urban studies collections.?Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
In this book the author goes underground in a train tunnel in New York City where a bunch of homelesss people are living. She interviews and photographs them in an unobstrusive way that is very respectful of them and their situations. It's a pretty disgusting place with rats (dead & alive), garbage, excrement, and no fresh air. It is really amazing how people have built comfortable housing down there with electricity even! They get hot water dripping from the pipes to shower & wash clothes. I liked this book and thought about it for a few days afterwards. The book has a lot of photo's and you'll read it pretty quickly.
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By A. Ort on Dec 29 1999
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this book in my local library and could not put it down. It is said that we are all connected, that we are each others' mirrors. While looking at the photos in this book I realized that I was looking at a side of myself I had never lived. And yet it was a side I was familiar with...
Part of me was drawn to it, intoxicated by it, a deep, dark fantasy brought to light. Here are people living out the darkest fears of mankind, boldly and with conviction.
It is truly a remarkable book as no judgments are made; the photos speak volumes and any and all judgments are left up to the reader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
44 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Wow. Dec 29 1999
By A. Ort - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across this book in my local library and could not put it down. It is said that we are all connected, that we are each others' mirrors. While looking at the photos in this book I realized that I was looking at a side of myself I had never lived. And yet it was a side I was familiar with...
Part of me was drawn to it, intoxicated by it, a deep, dark fantasy brought to light. Here are people living out the darkest fears of mankind, boldly and with conviction.
It is truly a remarkable book as no judgments are made; the photos speak volumes and any and all judgments are left up to the reader.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not Your Average Picture Book March 16 2009
By P. Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not your average picture book. Morton's photography is great, but the real impact of the book is its subject matter. The entire body of the text is transcribed from audio-taped interviews with homeless persons living in the Amtrak Tunnel. This place and those inhabitants are the subject of a research paper I am writing and I found the book very helpful, as well as a powerful work.
9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Interesting book with great photo's Nov. 15 2002
By Hempist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this book the author goes underground in a train tunnel in New York City where a bunch of homelesss people are living. She interviews and photographs them in an unobstrusive way that is very respectful of them and their situations. It's a pretty disgusting place with rats (dead & alive), garbage, excrement, and no fresh air. It is really amazing how people have built comfortable housing down there with electricity even! They get hot water dripping from the pipes to shower & wash clothes. I liked this book and thought about it for a few days afterwards. The book has a lot of photo's and you'll read it pretty quickly.


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