Mole People – Living in the Tunnels Beneath New York

Homeless man living in the Freedom Tunnel – an Amtrak train tunnel under the west side highway in New York City.

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Stories of “mole people” have always intrigued me. Years ago I went urban exploring in search of these mole people living in the tunnels under New York City. I found some of them in the Freedom Tunnel, a train tunnel that runs under the West Side highway.

This tunnel is well known for its graffiti, but is also the home to several homeless people. Two of these men were nice enough to invite me into their homes in the train tunnel.

This video is a short interview with Walter, a homeless man who has lived in the Freedom Tunnel for over 20 years. The level of comfort and amenities he has made for himself in the train tunnel is astonishing. It is a paradox that a so called “homeless person” has made such a nice home for himself.

He had electricity, a computer, a stereo, and many other modern comforts underground. Walter talks about his life in the tunnel, and some of what it takes to survive living below the streets of New York.

Sadly Walter passed away about 9 years ago. The last I checked no one had taken up his old home – the exact location of which was edited in the video, so it wasn’t revealed.

This video is part of a larger project. I will be editing another interview with a different man who lived in the freedom tunnel. I will also be making a longer documentary about these two men, and my experience meeting them while urban exploring this train tunnel.

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