Cover image for Living at the edge of the world : a teenager's survival in the tunnels of Grand Central Station
Living at the edge of the world : a teenager's survival in the tunnels of Grand Central Station
S., Tina.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvii, 283 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV4506.N7 S8 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HV4506.N7 S8 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



When Tina S. meets April, a teenage runaway, she thinks she's found her best friend. She leaves behind her dysfunctional family to join April in the tunnels of Grand Central Station amidst the homeless and drug addicted. Soon she's bingeing on crack - just like April - and stealing, scamming and panhandling to support her habit and to survive on the streets.In her own words, she describes her descent into crack addiction, being raped in the tunnels, her several arrests and jail terms and her grief and guilt over the death of April, whom she'd come to love. Finally faced with the reality that she might not make it through one more day, Tina takes her first difficult steps towards a normal life.With the help of a homeless advocate and his wife, a gay uncle dying of AIDS, and the woman who was to become her co-author on this book, Tina turns her life around and makes her way back to the world of the living.

Author Notes

Tina S. currently works as a supervisor at Ready, Willing and Able, an organization that teaches job skills to the homeless. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Jamie Pastor Bolnick is the author of Winnie: My Life in the Institution (St. Martin's Press) which was made into the NBC-TV movie. Her work has also appeared in magazines and newspapers including Redbook and New York Newsday . She lives in New York City with her family and a mostly shepherd dog named Beki.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tina S. spent four years as a teenage homeless drug addict, living in the tunnels of Grand Central Station, stealing, panhandling, hustling, and bingeing on crack cocaine. Tina was introduced to life at the station by April, a rootless teenager who helped Tina escape her dysfunctional family. Their friendship bound them in a spiral of escalating drug use, crime, and violence until April committed suicide at the age of 19. Tina struggled with grief and guilt at April's death, as well as her own addiction, in an effort to pull herself out of a cycle of arrest and homelessness. In this first-person account, Tina interweaves her story and April's. She recounts harrowing memories of the slow deterioration of friends and acquaintances, and her own struggles in and out of rehabilitation programs. With the help of coauthor Bolnick and others, Tina eventually began the slow process of drug rehabilitation, reconciliation with her family, and adoption of a more normal lifestyle. This is a raw and riveting account of drug addiction and homelessness. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a shocking and sometimes mordantly funny narrative of struggle and survival, a young woman writes (with the help of journalist Bolnick) of her six years as a homeless, crack-addicted teen living in New York's underworld. Between the ages of 16 and 20, Tina S. lived in the endless labyrinth of tunnels beneath Grand Central Station, where she panhandled, robbed and sometimes prostituted herself for money for food, liquor and drugs. Having fled her constricting life with her mother and siblings on welfare, Tina met Alice, a dynamic woman her own age who introduced her to the "glamorous" world of drugs and hanging out. Soon Tina was trapped in a maelstrom of addictions, arrests, failed rehabilitations, sexual harassments and violence. Alice's suicide, at the age of 19, haunts both Tina and the book. While the story's breathless narrative crammed with incident occasionally takes on a movie-of-the-week feel (Bolnick's earlier Winnie: My Life in an Institution was made into an NBC-TV movie), it also manages to be moving and psychologically astute. Tina's voice is fresh, and the book has a matter-of-fact tone that studiously avoids moralizing. Whether she is explaining the difference between heroin and crackÄ"all you have to do with dope is spend $10 and you're straight for the day. With crack you're always on a mission"Äor talking about how her gay uncle urges her to deal with her lesbianism, Tina's directness and honesty will hold readers tight. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

New York City's Grand Central Station provides the eerie backdrop for Tina S.'s jagged transition from runaway to homeless young adult to supervisor at a support organization for the homeless. Focusing on Tina's friendship with April, a doomed teenage runaway, the narrative conveys the realities of drugs, violence, and wasted lives but also a remarkable camaraderie among misfits. Bolnick, a freelance writer and author of Winnie: My Life in the Institution, alternates between stories of Tina's street life, her time at a rehabilitation center, and the rocky road back. Mentors such as an uncle who died of AIDS and a homeless advocate are critical to this process. This richly detailed, fast-paced, and moving coming-of-age tale originated as a follow-up to network stories on homelessness. Recommended for public libraries and social welfare collections, where it will challenge readers to look beyond the facade of the next homeless person they encounter.DAntoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.