I. Glasser, Roger Williams
Dutch photographer and journalist Voeten documents two years of work with the men and women who lived underground in a New York City train tunnel from 1992 to 1994. Most of the book is a chronological presentation of Voeten’s extensive field notes, written while he lived (part time) in the tunnel himself. The book’s epilogue and pictures of his former bunkmates taken 13 years later are touching. The author experienced the stress of living underground without clean water, bathrooms, privacy, and cooking facilities. In addition to homeless people, many journalists, photographers, and documentary filmmakers were also present who competed with each other for the affection and cooperation of the underground community. Voeten documents the slow and tedious process by which most of the tunnel dwellers were able to leave their underground community and finally get an apartment above ground. This book could have benefitted from more thorough editing. Voeten editorializes at times (someone is a “creep,” an apartment building is “tacky”); he is inconsistent in naming fellow researchers (one is always “professor,” others are called by their first name); and there are some mistakes in syntax. Despite these caveats, a vivid and accessible account. Summing Up: Recommended. General and public libraries.