INVISIBLE FRONTIER: The Jinx Book of Urban Exploration

L. B. Deyo, Author, David Leibowitz, Author . Three Rivers $14.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-609-80931-0

This book's intriguing topic and delightful presentation by its knowledgeable and eccentric authors will enthrall New Yorkers and non–New Yorkers alike. Deyo and Leibowitz, editors at Jinx, a zine devoted to the urban exploration movement, illumine what drives them to explore cities' infrastructure, the places few consider going (including sewage systems, subway tunnels and bridge spans). A charming pastiche of Alice in Wonderland and The X Files, this is both a paean to New York and a chronology of a love affair with the unusual. The authors take readers on a hike to Manhattan from the Bronx via the Croton Aqueduct, which was one of the major engineering feats of the 19th century, providing water for most New Yorkers. They also traverse the tunnels under Riverside Park to find the so-called mole people who live in the Amtrak system and to seek out graffiti artists. A semi–break-in takes readers into the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital. Other treks include exploring a condemned building in East Harlem, a nondiplomatic maneuver at the United Nations and climbing to the summit of the George Washington Bridge. Rife with literary quotations, historical and scientific tidbits, political and social commentary plus a plethora of details about the explorations the authors and their strange cadre have made (despite the muck and mire, the men always wear suits and ties and the women cocktail dresses), this smart, quirky book will delight spelunkers, couch potatoes and all in between. 25 line drawings, 25 b&w photos. (On sale July 22)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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