The Tunnel Man

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.

About

An author, a teacher, a candlestick maker? I am lucky enough to have followed my muse through a most eclectic life of many careers, many interests, and many friends and liasions. Two beautiful children, now grown and one their own, several books -- the penultimate accomplishment dream come true, a hores trainer, a college professor, and a stint in corporate America to validate my feelings that I never, ever want to go there again. So I donned my ruby slippers and dared to take those different paths, those diverging paths, and that has made all the difference! (Thank you, Robert!)

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2 comments on “The Tunnel Man
  1. He was not so different from some of us who have an alternative “live in the barn” lifestyle. Thanks for remembering him.

    • madmuser says:

      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.

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