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“I’m not saying the book is not true, I just never experienced the things [she] said she saw,” Fletcher explained to Adams.

I was unable to reach Toth for comment, but when Adams talked to her, the journalist said she couldn’t remember how to access certain places described in her essay — possibly not to disclose the whereabouts of trespassing squatters.

Dutch anthropologist Teun Voeten’s 1996 diary “Tunnel People” provided an incredible account of the months he spent with the Riverside Park Amtrak tunnel inhabitants before they were evicted and moved to Section 8 housing units. All the stories I had read about the Mole People before descending myself had two things in common.

In 2000, director Marc Singer released his acclaimed documentary “Dark Days,” filming the same people followed by Voeten and Toth in their respective books. They all showed simple human beings who were in no way comparable to the legends that had been told, and they all included a man named Bernard Isaac.

He has been living here for a while now, in a small space between two support beams that can only be reached with a ladder. There’s no hassle compared to the streets, you know what I’m saying? “You’re the first person to visit this week,” he says. I can get why, it’s a spooky place when you don’t know it. I hear him talk to himself as I go away from the entrance and from the white sky.

Like many of the people interviewed for this article, he did not want to give his full name. I can do what I wanna and I don’t have to take nothing from nobody.” Today is a good day for Jon, despite the rain and the cool weather. Like alligators in the sewers.” Jon offers me a sip of vodka. He tells me to stay safe and to watch out for trains when I go back walking into the tunnel.

He is bipolar and suffers from major substance dependence. An instant hit, it chronicled the organization of those underground societies, describing compounds of several thousands where babies were born and regular lives were lived, with elected officials, hot water and even electricity.

That’s why they make up these stories about cannibalism and stuff.

“This is not a place of perdition,” he often said about the Riverside Park tunnel when we talked together during his shifts as a maintenance worker in Central Park. A place to find peace and take a break from the chaos.” He would then reminisce about his old life, his eyes would light up and there would be the crack of a smile, and whatever place we were in would be filled by his presence.

Though there never was any real leader in the shantytown, Isaac became the community’s de facto spokesman, interacting with outreach groups and journalists to explain how living there was better than dealing with shelter curfews, senseless laws and indifferent social workers. Ironically, the tunnel’s community support was in many ways more efficient than the one offered by municipal programs. He became friends with Isaac and his community, teaming up with local tagger Roger Smith — known to most as just “Smith” — to paint pieces narrating their stories. We’ve done something that one out of every 1,000 men in creation in their lifetimes will do. I see rats scurrying by, racing into the obscurity. There is a garden chair, and overturned crates and buckets. “I didn’t hear you coming,” I say with my heart pounding like it wants out of my chest. “I don’t want him to think of me as a bum,” he says. The NYPD regularly raids the place looking for people with outstanding warrants, targeting domestic abusers and failing to arrest the major dealers or car thieves roaming the area. didn’t comment on the situation when I reached out to the company, but one of their security officers, who wished to remain anonymous because he feared reprisal from his employer, told me that the lack of resources, upkeep and care were the biggest issues in the facilities. One day I was assaulted in my own room and the guards didn’t do anything!

In the encampment, the dwellers had a familiar place to be, watch TV, read or smoke. “I hadpainted in the tunnel for six years before the homeless moved in, so they were curious about me,” said Pape in a 2014 interview for “Untapped Cities.” “I became friendly with most of them and my visits to the tunnel were much safer and even relaxing.” In a 1990 Los Angeles Times article, Isaac explained that the small community lived as well, if not better, than the average people “up top,” as they commonly refer to the streets. We dared to be ourselves.” Some residents were still eager to leave, only to come back later. I lean against the wall and try to breathe calmly, reminding myself this place is only populated by old memories and the occasional homeless person looking for a safe place to be. Then I see the charred remains of an animal in the corner of an alcove — a raccoon maybe, a big rodent with liquefied flesh, burnt fur and missing limbs. ” she adds, sitting on a rug in her new spot, inside a man-made cave near the Lincoln Tunnel entrance. She was sixteen when she got pregnant with her daughter Alyssa.

According to Brennan, the whole notion of secret passages was implausible and “reminiscent of scenes in the TV series ‘Beauty and the Beast.’” A 2004 article by Cecil Adams further demonstrated that many accounts were perhaps more sensationalism than truth.

Adams pointed out unverifiable or incorrect facts in Toth’s work, and her skepticism peaked during her interview of Cindy Fletcher, a former tunnel dweller who challenged important points of the narration.

“This is not a place of perdition,” he often said about the Riverside Park tunnel when we talked together during his shifts as a maintenance worker in Central Park. A place to find peace and take a break from the chaos.” He would then reminisce about his old life, his eyes would light up and there would be the crack of a smile, and whatever place we were in would be filled by his presence.Though there never was any real leader in the shantytown, Isaac became the community’s de facto spokesman, interacting with outreach groups and journalists to explain how living there was better than dealing with shelter curfews, senseless laws and indifferent social workers. Ironically, the tunnel’s community support was in many ways more efficient than the one offered by municipal programs. He became friends with Isaac and his community, teaming up with local tagger Roger Smith — known to most as just “Smith” — to paint pieces narrating their stories. We’ve done something that one out of every 1,000 men in creation in their lifetimes will do. I see rats scurrying by, racing into the obscurity. There is a garden chair, and overturned crates and buckets. “I didn’t hear you coming,” I say with my heart pounding like it wants out of my chest. “I don’t want him to think of me as a bum,” he says. The NYPD regularly raids the place looking for people with outstanding warrants, targeting domestic abusers and failing to arrest the major dealers or car thieves roaming the area. didn’t comment on the situation when I reached out to the company, but one of their security officers, who wished to remain anonymous because he feared reprisal from his employer, told me that the lack of resources, upkeep and care were the biggest issues in the facilities. One day I was assaulted in my own room and the guards didn’t do anything!In the encampment, the dwellers had a familiar place to be, watch TV, read or smoke. “I hadpainted in the tunnel for six years before the homeless moved in, so they were curious about me,” said Pape in a 2014 interview for “Untapped Cities.” “I became friendly with most of them and my visits to the tunnel were much safer and even relaxing.” In a 1990 Los Angeles Times article, Isaac explained that the small community lived as well, if not better, than the average people “up top,” as they commonly refer to the streets. We dared to be ourselves.” Some residents were still eager to leave, only to come back later. I lean against the wall and try to breathe calmly, reminding myself this place is only populated by old memories and the occasional homeless person looking for a safe place to be. Then I see the charred remains of an animal in the corner of an alcove — a raccoon maybe, a big rodent with liquefied flesh, burnt fur and missing limbs. ” she adds, sitting on a rug in her new spot, inside a man-made cave near the Lincoln Tunnel entrance. She was sixteen when she got pregnant with her daughter Alyssa.According to Brennan, the whole notion of secret passages was implausible and “reminiscent of scenes in the TV series ‘Beauty and the Beast.’” A 2004 article by Cecil Adams further demonstrated that many accounts were perhaps more sensationalism than truth.Adams pointed out unverifiable or incorrect facts in Toth’s work, and her skepticism peaked during her interview of Cindy Fletcher, a former tunnel dweller who challenged important points of the narration.Its population, limited at first to about three or four individuals, quickly grew at the time Isaac settled in, evolving into small tribes of vagrants who built thriving shantytowns in the newly abandoned space. “It often scared grown men easily,” recounted Isaac in 2010 as he showed me his old hangout places. Some, like Isaac, were at home in the darkness, and would not have lived anywhere else. “You can actually make a good life here when you’re broke,” he says. The streets are full of opportunities if you know where to look. In 2014, the average stay was 352 days at the Freedom House, a homeless shelter on West 95th Street managed by private company Aguila Inc.