Did alligators ever really live in New York's sewers? What's it like to explore the old aqueducts beneath the city? How many levels are beneath Grand Central Station? And how exactly did the pneumatic tube system that New York's post offices used to employ work?
In this richly illustrated historical tour of New York's vast underground systems, Julia Solis answers all these questions and much, much more. New York Underground takes readers through ingenious criminal escape routes, abandoned subway stations, and dark crypts beneath lower Manhattan to expose the city's basic anatomy. While the city is justly famous for what lies above ground, its underground passages are equally legendary and tell us just as much about how the city works.
"Want to know what's amazing underneath New York City? Want to know about all the stuff that you'd never guess is below Manhattan, including everything from secret subway stations to cave crickets? Then start digging into Julia Solis' anatomical report on the Big Subterranean Apple, which is dark and deep and, despite eight million people living on top of it, largely unknown."
-- Robert Sullivan, Author of Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
"Solis takes us spelunking beneath the city's streets, exploring its layers
of history along the way. Even New Yorkers will be astounded to discover the
secrets underground. Her entertaining and informative book dispels some favorite urban legends and unearths long-forgotten lore." -- Margaret Morton, Photographer and author of The Tunnel
"Underground space is one we New Yorkers flee --the subway being its most familiar instance. But both in her text and in the photos Solis shows us its mysteries, beauties, dangers, and desolations."
-- Saskia Sassen, author of The Global City
"Mentioned." -- Publishers Weekly
Tokens of Esteem
"Diehl's "Subways" and Julia Solis's "New York Underground" commemorate the subway's anniversary in different but complementary ways. Diehl's is a compact, well-illustrated history of the system, from the one-block, pneumatically driven line that Alfred Ely Beach constructed in the late 1860s -- incredibly, he built it secretly, because "Boss" Tweed's cronies were opposed to subways -- to the revival of the system in the 1990s after its painful decline in the 1970s. The subways are only part of the story that Solis tells. Herself what might be called an urban spelunker -- a person who loves to explore urban undergrounds -- she provides a tour of everything in New York from sewers and water mains to railroad tunnels and secret wine cellars built (most famously, at the "21" club) during Prohibition.
." -- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Mentioned." -- New York Sun
"Solis addresses contemporary urban myths about life below the streets of New York, including alligators in the sewers, abandoned subway stations, secret passageways and hidden speakeasies. Her journeys through the tunnels that traverse the depths of the city are fascinating (and passages are often accompanied by the author's own photographs); her discoveries include graffiti art, homeless enclaves, and of course, gigantic rats." -- Time Out New York
"An illustrated historical tour of New York's vast underground systems - from the bowels of Grand Central Terminal to the labyrinthine ruins of the Old Croton Aqueduct. Stories of the how these structures came into existence, with pictures of the strange artifacts of abandoned train stations and the work of the city's underground graffiti artists.
." -- Architecture Week
"Author profile, book mentioned." -- SOMA Magazine
"The 251-page tome of text and photography takes readers into a clandestine universe of subway tunnels, crumbling aqueducts, forgotten speakeasies and ruins of former insane asylums -- all places that this redheaded explorer relishes...Solis also has explored the burial catacombs below old St. Patrick's Cathedral, checked out the pea-green cyclotron in the basement of Columbia University, used by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi in groundbreaking experiments that led to the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and found her way into the claustrophobic tunnels used by underworld criminals.
." -- San Francisco Chronicle