Unfortunately, this is not about the alligators sometimes rumored to be living in New York City's sewer system. Instead, it presents familiar snatches of history, beginning with Peter Minuit's purchase of Manhattan, culminating in the construction of the World Trade Center, and touching on just about everything that happened in between. Depending heavily on secondary sources, Pamela Jones has tried to put together a chronicle of New York's subterranean world, but not only has she incorporated far too much--e.g., the discovery of gas, invention of the telephone and electric lights, construction of Grand Central Station--the material seldom gets into the 20th century. When it does, we learn that ""the men who work in Con Edison's manholes and transformer vaults learn to tolerate biting cold and sweltering July heat,"" and that if New York's subway tracks were laid end to end, they would reach Detroit. Well, anyhow, those subway trains never stop.