Did you ever watch that TV show, Beauty and the Beast with Ron Pearlman and Linda Hamilton? Ahh, I am aging myself. It was one of my favorite shows back in the late 1980s, and I loved it for many reasons. I loved it for the purity of the romance between the two main characters. I loved it for the excitement of each weekly adventure. And I loved it, perhaps most of all, for the magical, under-world kingdom of the Beast in the bowels of the New York City subway system.
In some perverted way, I envied the Beast his cozy and seemingly safe home away from the fears and dangers of civilization. I often imagined how I might fashion my own underground refuge, how I would live and feel safe – something I rarely experienced in my above-ground life.
Today I can across this article about one of the last true tunnel dwellers, a man named Anthony Horton who died, consumed by flames, with his body found burned, deep, deep, deep in the tunnel, in an old crew room in the F-train tunnel at 63rd and Lexington.
He was a gentle man, so they said about him. He discussed art, and he drew, and he even collaborated on a book with a woman he met on the subway one day. He liked his underground life, even preferring it to the “normal” life above ground he tried once. He talked about his dog a lot, he loved his dog, and I can just imagine the two of them together down there, cozied up all warm together while storms – real and symbolic – raged above. But they took his dog away one day, and just thinking of it now makes me cry.
Said one who knew him: “He was kind. He was not bothering nobody.”
And yet, they took his dog away.
2 thoughts on “The Tunnel Man”
He was not so different from some of us who have an alternative “live in the barn” lifestyle. Thanks for remembering him.
Thanks for your comment. And oh yes, I can relate to the barn lifestyle as well. Nothing like the sites, smells, and sounds of a horse barn, all warm and cozy.