Oswald Rivera is a Marine combat veteran of Vietnam where he was awarded the Purple Heart and other honors. This phase of his life gave rise to his first novel, Fire and Rain: A Novel of Vietnam, which Publishers Weekly declared, “a searing, authentic… quietly powerful story.”
Later, Rivera served as a staff analyst for the New York City Police Department. It was during this period that he discovered a makeshift city under the city.
In addition to his novels, pursuing a lifelong culinary passion, Rivera has written two cookbooks: Puerto Rican Cuisine in America: Nuyorican and Bodega Recipes, (“An elegant feast.” —New York Daily News) and now out, The Pharaoh’s Feast, a history of cuisine. He lives in New York City.
From Oswald about his book, “This underground city was the domicile of numerous homeless individuals who settled within a series of abandoned Amtrak tunnels spanning 41 blocks of Riverside Park. This was a self-enclosed community that thrived and became a microcosm of the larger environment above the streets.
“This settlement is no more. The abandoned rail lines were once more appropriated by the Amtrak system. What happened to these individuals, no one knows. But while the settlement existed, it gave rise to a mini-community within the community, with its own rules and laws of conduct. Not many people knew about this underground colony, who called themselves “the Moles.” Yet their story must be told and is now recounted in all its stark detail. In essence, this is a story of a group who clung together because they had nothing else. It is a story of a family.”