THE UNDERGROUND RESIDENTS of New York exist in a world of perpetual darkness, punctuated only by occasional shafts of light. In contrast to other homeless people, who are a ubiquitous presence on the streets of the city, this community is invisible to people traversing the streets and promenades directly above them, or to passengers on trains speeding through the black expanse of railroad tunnels, unaware that they are passing by the front doors of a population that occupies previously uncharted, unlived-in territory, a frontier of land and time. The tunnel residents increasingly occupy the night, and share little of the diurnal environment with others aboveground. They live in a harsh ecology that is deprived of light, water, and heat, and constantly struggle to protect themselves against the extreme cold and dampness of the cavernous space.

Many of the tunnel residents dwell alongside

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