An obelisk in Harlem is surrounded by a tureen from which horses once sipped,” she writes.

The tunnels were never used for their intended purpose, but through the following decades were refurbished by local communities to house cheap hotels and other businesses.The parts now used for accommodation are mostly owned and let by private landlords.

One resident, named Wei, told Al-Jazeera that he lived in a 300-square-foot apartment with nine other people.“I am doing well because I’m scared of being poor,” he said.

“Many of my colleagues live above ground, but I think it’s too comfortable.

“This place forces me to work harder.”Annette Kim, a professor at the University of Southern California who has studied the apartments, said they serve as an alternative solution to a problem faced by city dwellers everywhere.

“Of course, no one would prefer to live underground, but there was a strong preference to location.

“What happens in most parts of the world is affordable-housing projects are in bad areas far from the city because that’s where land is affordable.The blazes come as Brazil prepares to enter its annual “fire season,” which typically hits in August each year.

There are concerns that Brazil could see a repeat of the terrible blazes seen in August 2019, when 30,900 fires were recorded by Inpe – a 12-year high for the month.“It’s a terrible sign,” said Ane Alencar, science director at Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM).

“We can expect that August will already be a difficult month and September will be worse yet.”Environmental advocates blame right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro for emboldening illegal loggers and miners to destroy the forest.

More than 1,000 fires were registered in the Amazon rainforest on July 30.