A New York Times article by John Tierney was the earliest to outline the phenomenon, looking at people living in an abandoned train tunnel beneath Riverside Park, along the banks of the Hudson River. Jon must have passed out drunk, now, somewhere behind me. He is bipolar and suffers from major substance dependence. I walk away holding my breath. Another was found dead in his apartment. One day, three men asked Isaac for a toll as he came by the th Street entrance to the tunnel. Maybe talk to some people. A dark and wild beast silently trailing me. It smells like death here. Different times were looming ahead. Once her daughter was in the hands of her sister, Jessica was sent to the Freedom House where she stayed for seven months until Aguila notified her of her imminent relocation. The FBI is looking for him. 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. Jessica was then diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and admitted to transitional housing in Brooklyn. Every noise is threatening in the tunnel, and I find myself constantly looking over my shoulder, ready to face something too awful to name. All the stories I had read about the Mole People before descending myself had two things in common.
There were 42, homeless children across the five boroughs in Few risked getting down into the tunnel. Another succumbed to AIDS. He tells me to stay safe and to watch out for trains when I go back walking into the tunnel. 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. The stew is surprisingly tasty. 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. The FBI is looking for him. The rumbling feels closer. Jon has been homeless for more than fifteen years. In , the average stay was days at the Freedom House , a homeless shelter on West 95th Street managed by private company Aguila Inc. He used to know Donald Trump. Here by the parkway with the blasting trucks and the roaring cars, near the filigree arches of the Riverside Drive viaduct, here with the gravel crunching under my feet as I run down the railroad into this hollow mouth. The year-old knows enough about shelters. All the stories I had read about the Mole People before descending myself had two things in common. Rules were simple but strictly enforced. 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. Amtrak Police Captain Doris Comb started calling for more enforcement, effectively pushing the homeless out of the active railway. 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. Sometimes a TV is hurled out a window , or the police close the street after someone is stabbed in a fight. A raw, burning power that some, like Isaac, will seek their whole life. A blue jay flies past a grate. There is an old mattress on the floor, and cookware, blankets and electronics stacked on makeshift shelves. And one day they will spill outside and burn us all alive, and they will reign over our flatscreen joys and our organic delights. We both eat in silence.
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