Things I read this week(ish), 11/6

What Lies Beneath by William Langewiesche for Vanity Fair

For anyone attracted to such spaces, and willing to do a little innocent trespassing, the city offers plenty of choices. For instance, there are 13 abandoned or semi-abandoned underground subway stations, including an ornate station at City Hall that was sealed off from the street in 1946 but can still be visited by foot, at mortal risk, along the No. 6 line, whose trains use the track there to turn around at the end of their downtown runs. Additionally, there is a long-abandoned 19th-century railroad tunnel under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. And there is a section of empty tunnel in Manhattan, near the Manhattan Bridge, that was built in the 1970s in anticipation of a Second Avenue subway that has still not arrived, and may never. Access to that tunnel is through a sidewalk hatch. Most recently it was used for a surreptitious underground party that later made the press.

I read this article on the plane from Miami to NYC. It’s not the type of subject that usually piques my interest, but it felt topical, and I’m glad I dove in. The most fascinating section for me was about Steve Duncan, who travels NYC’s underground labyrinth on foot, out of his own exploratory motivation.

The Girl in the Closet by Scott Farwell for The Dallas Morning News

Once Lauren started eating, she gained as much as 5 pounds a week and began belting out country songs.
“When we looked at this child, we didn’t see someone who is ready to die and we didn’t see someone who was mad at the entire world,” Persaud said. “We saw someone who would take every opportunity given to her and thrive.
“That’s what really touched our hearts.”

Once I started this, I couldn’t stop reading it, consuming it over the course of a day as I switched back and forth from work projects and took 5-minute breaks to skim past the very detailed abuse portions. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to the extra-sensitive reader. But while Lauren’s story is horrifically, painfully sad, it is also hopeful, reminding me that the human spirit is strong and can rebound – even slowly, falteringly – from the worst of circumstances.


How to Write the Worst Possible Column About Millennials by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic

Third, and this is really key, pretend that every member of this 85-million-person generation grew up in a fabricated life-size playhouse on the set of Hannah Montana. “Matching pajamas from Hanna Andersson” was a nice start, but you can go so much deeper. “Four-car garages, master suites, and cathedral ceilings”—that is a good description of everybody’s house now. Blame today’s high youth unemployment on “their parents’ success” and suggest they’re not actually trying to find work because “they’re already livin’ the dream.”

Funny, and yeah, I don’t live in my parents’ basement.


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