""Want to know what's amazing underneath New York City? Want to know about all the stuff that you'd never guess is below Manhattan, including everything from secret subway stations to cave crickets? Then start digging into Julia Solis' anatomical report on the Big Subterranean Apple, which is dark and deep and, despite eight million people living on top of it, largely unknown."
-Robert Sullivan, Author of Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
"Solis takes us spelunking beneath the city's streets, exploring its layers
of history along the way. Even New Yorkers will be astounded to discover the
secrets underground. Her entertaining and informative book dispels some favorite urban legends and unearths long-forgotten lore..""
-Margaret Morton, Photographer and author of The Tunnel
"Underground space is one we New Yorkers flee --the subway being its most familiar instance. But both in her text and in the photos Solis shows us its mysteries, beauties, dangers, and desolations."
-Saskia Sassen, author of The Global City
-Publishers Weekly, August 9, 2004
"Diehl's "Subways" and Julia Solis's "New York Underground" commemorate the subway's anniversary in different but complementary ways. Diehl's is a compact, well-illustrated history of the system, from the one-block, pneumatically driven line that Alfred Ely Beach constructed in the late 1860s -- incredibly, he built it secretly, because "Boss" Tweed's cronies were opposed to subways -- to the revival of the system in the 1990s after its painful decline in the 1970s. The subways are only part of the story that Solis tells. Herself whatmight be called an urban spelunker -- a person who loves to explore urban undergrounds -- she provides a tour of everything in New York from sewers and water mains to railroad tunnels and secret wine cellars built (most famously, at the "21" club) during Prohibition.
Tokens of Esteem
-Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, 10/28/04
Julia Solis's New York Underground , originally published in Germany by Christoph Links Verlag in 2002, is an informal and accessible history of New York's underground - from the subways to the bowels of Columbia University to its old pneumatic tube mail system. The author, an accomplished artist who has lived in America since 1977 and in New York since 1995, has spent years investigating the dark places of the city. The book is beautifully illustrated and features many of the author's own photos. Just as important, the stories she tells are fascinating - from the urban legends of alligators in the sewer systems to a late nineteenth century inventor trying to outwit Boss Tweed by building a downtown pneumatic subway system on the sly. As the story unfolds, she takes us through both abandoned train stations (where the fabled 'mole people' live) and the infrastructural ruins entombed in the bowels of the city. The portrait of New York's physical underworld that emerges is panoramic; Solis leaves no stone unturned.