Monday, April 25, 2011

Stuff I Dig: Underground New York

I often see people say that they prefer when authors talk about themselves and their lives on their blog. I would love to do that, but seriously my life is SO boring. When I worked in retail I talked about my life a lot more because I was out doing things and encountering strange people. And some authors travel a lot and have fascinating adventures. I, alas, mostly sit at home and do a relatively limited amount of activities: writing, reading, cooking, watching TV or playing video games with Dade. I hope my life will become more blog-worthy someday (in a good way, not like my adventures trying to fly out of Branson). But for now, I'm thinking that maybe on Mondays I will try to briefly talk about something that is not so writing specific. Something I've been liking or doing or thinking about. I can come up with one interesting thing a week, right!?

So, a couple of scenes in my current book take place in abandoned subway tunnels. I have to admit I am pretty fascinated by the subway. My first subway experience was the one in Toronto, which I barely remember, but when I went to NYC the second time, for a week, I learned to actually USE the subway. Maybe it's because I don't drive...but the magic of walking down into this subterranean world, stepping on a train, and coming out somewhere new is pretty enthralling to me.

Anyway, I needed to do some research on underground cities, but my library is not exactly flush with books on the topic. At the university library I found New York Underground: The Anatomy of a City by Julia Solis and I found myself reading every word. I knew there was some pretty cool stuff under the city--I remember when they found a whole 18th century ship at the World Trade Center site. But this book covers a lot of ground, tantalizing with mysteries like, how many stories down does Grand Central Station go, and what is down there? Is there an old locomotive buried in Brooklyn? Ooh.

And then I found this video, of urban explorer Steve Duncan going to several underground sites. Not only is the history and architecture fascinating, but the video is well-shot with a raw sense of danger as he and the cameraman dodge cops and MTA workers. I was riveted. (Plus I think he's kinda cute. Heh.)

(Blogger cuts part of it off. Yuck. Well, go here: I'll just leave the embedded movie up so my blog looks visual.)


  1. this is fascinating. i, too, was excited when they found that ship at the WTC site. i'm very curious about what you're writing!

    now i'm off to watch more of these urban exploration videos.

  2. Ohmigosh! Let me know if you find any more really good ones. I need to look for some more myself because this was so fascinating!