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Tunnel People

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  97 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Following the homeless Manhattanites who, in the mid-1990s, chose to start a new life in the tunnel systems of the city, this record tells the stories of a variety of tunnel dwellers from the perspective of an award-winning, European photojournalist wholived and worked with them for 5 months. Photographs and personal accounts detail the struggles and pleasures—including th ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 11th 2010 by PM Press (first published January 1st 1996)
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This was an amazing book to edit, dark and gritty and quite extraordinary. It's as though Hunter S. Thompson were Dutch, and a photographer, and went to live in the tunnels under Manhattan. And actually got his hands dirty collecting cans and bottles at 6 am, as well as trying out the tunnel drug of choice. It's every bit as noir as our Switchblade series, a clear look at the true underbelly of New York, along with the people who relate to it...from police to academics to non-profit workers. It' ...more
Lori Anderson
Absolutely fascinating. I watched a documentary a few years ago about European kids, mostly paint huffers, who lived in the subways, panhandling on the main floors for drug money, and the hierarchy among them and the programs in place to get them into school and placed in foster homes.

This book goes into the homeless who developed a community (and there really is NO other way to describe it but as a community) in the unused Amtrak tunnel in the subways of NYC. So many different types of peoples
Lauri Royall
The subject is fascinating and heartbreaking. My only criticism is the book felt as if it skimmed the surface of the subject and we may have been given a rather sanitized version of what life in the tunnels is really like, possibly because these were the Amtrac tunnels and so many journalists had been there on a regular basis, some of the stories by the tunnel people were practiced, rehearsed and delivered. It will be interesting to read about some other locations of tunnel people that did not g ...more
It was journalistic style...made it a quick and easy read but really delved and showed the heart, creativity and told the stories of people making it on the streets. In the middle of the book, Tuen Voeten meets with the authorities and service agencies to understand the bureaucracy of assisting people from the streets/tunnels/bridges into transitional housing. A lot of paper work and cases of mental illness and drug addiction. A narrative into the lives of people that are disregarded in our gene ...more
Artur Coelho
Debaixo de uma das cidades mais icónicas do planeta, num labirinto de túneis e passagens subterrâneas, vivem aqueles que a sociedade rejeitou: viciados em drogas, pessoas com problemas mentais, homens e mulheres que cairam nas fissuras da sociedade e se vêm sem um lar, um porto de abrigo. Teun Voeten, num admirável trabalho de sociologia, viveu entre as gentes que fizeram dos túneis de Nova Iorque a sua casa, registando uma crónica de esperanças perdidas, lutas contra a burocracia, e as história ...more
Zach Neiheisel
Perhaps not the most eloquently written book, still a fascinating look into the lives of the homeless in New York in the early 1990's and a huge recommendation if you're interested in the subject matter.
Mar 27, 2014 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ok, great
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was originally marketed to me as a photo book, so when I ordered it I was expecting a book of large prints documenting the lives of these people.

Upon receiving it I realised it was much more of a field journal with thirty-odd small black and white photographs.

The photography holds up well and the subject matter is truly interesting, but it did not meet my initial expectations and I also felt that the size of the photographs was unfortunate.

Would gladly pay for an 8*10 style book of Voeten's
I've been interested in the tunnel people since I first read about them--about how they survived, about why they were there, and about how (some of them) got out. This book provided a good companion to Jennifer Toth's book The Mole people, which I read some years ago. Voeten actually lived in the tunnel (as a journalist) for a short time. Some of the language seemed a little garbled at times, but, overall, this constituted good reading.
Interesting study of people who were living in an Amtrak tunnel in Manhattan. The translation (was originally written in Danish) was at times odd but this did at times add a nuance to the subjects' language that was probably not there. The author seems quite prejudiced against some tunnel dwellers for small, sometimes childish reasons, which was surprising.
Ugh. I couldn't finish this. I knew it would be depressing, but I am not up for that kind of depressing right now. Plus, as a person that studied anthropology, I am very critical of his field research techniques. Very amateur, although he doesn't claim to be an anthropologist, he presented his findings as an ethnography.

I enjoyed this book. More limited in scope yet more definitive in detail and believability than Toth's classic treatment of the topic. The anthropological approach makes it a more interesting study, as well as the European 'outsider' point of view.
This book was a very trying read. Readable and enthralling on one page, boring and tedious the next, I had trouble maintaining my focus on the book and gave up after about 100 pages.
Interesting read about people who learn to survive by living in the tunnels of New York City's subway system.
May 13, 2011 Dan added it
Didn't finish. It was good, but started to get repetitive and I was distracted by other things.
Incredibly interesting read. Loved the 2010 updates as to where they are now.
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Teun Voeten is een Nederlands fotograaf en antropoloog. Voeten studeerde culturele antropologie en filosofie aan de Universiteit Leiden en studeerde aan de School of Visual Arts in New York City. Na zijn afstuderen verhuisde Voeten in 1992 naar Brussel, van waaruit hij internationale conflicten volgde voor de Nederlandse, Belgische, Duitse, Britse en Amerikaanse pers. In 1994 schreef hij het boek ...more
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