At times Ms. Toth's account of homelessness in the dark, dangerous warrens beneath NYC can be frightening, heartbreaking, and infuriating all in the space on one paragraph. She interviews many of those who have temporarily or permanently dropped out of society to live underground. Their reasons are usually due to serious addictions to drugs or alcohol, mental health issues, evasion from law enforcement, or extreme destitution.
It is a world of death, disease, poverty, and fear where the author sometimes finds children, married couples, and intellectuals amongst the citizenry of the tunnels.
With names changed to protect identities, the characters she encounters include Brenda, Bernard, Bob, Sam, Frederick, Carlos, and Blade to cite a few are a demographic representation of the above ground population. They are white, black, Hispanic, educated, simple-minded, deranged, middle aged, young, employed, unemployed, gay, and straight. Numbering in the thousands, they live off the scraps of world above, rummaging dumpsters or frequenting soup kitchens to eat. Sometimes they do the unimaginable and catch “track rabbits” (rats) for sustenance.
This report prepared by David Fletcher