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Quotes / Wrong Side of the Tracks

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Ol' Pauper's Drop's the worst neighborhood in Rapture, but it's a hell of an opportunity to raise up some ah, affordable housin'. When Atlantic Express was constructin' their luxury passenger line, this place was hollowed out beneath as flophouses for the railway crew. Nobody was s'posed to reside down here long-term, but when you're broke in this town, you're not exactly swimmin' in alternatives. I don't favor spendin' more than an hour or so down here at a time: there ain't a side of the tracks more wrong than under 'em.
Augustus Sinclair, Bioshock 2

This area, which soon became known as "The Underground," did have one redeeming feature: its proximity to subterranean levels of the buildings downtown ensures that it stays a few degrees warmer than the rest of the city throughout the winter. Because of this, Chicago's homeless population soon began sleeping alongside the roadway.
The area has settled into decay. Many of the streetlights still don't work, because the city doesn't dare send repairmen down to replace the bulbs. The area exists in a state of perpetual night. Because of the lack of traffic, cardboard houses stand in the middle of the road. Sometimes the houses become mausoleums for their unfortunate owners. The police, who come down once a month to "clean up," will only enter the area in squads of at least ten men. When traffic does drive through, it has to slow down because of the poor lighting conditions and debris in the middle of the street. As a vehicle passes, dozens of panhandlers and "window washers" will lay siege to it. It is a very foolish idea to open a window to pass out money; those that do not, however, may find their cars tipped over by the homeless who are enraged at the haves daring to enter the realm of the have-nots.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Chicago By Night

Today, Lowtown is a labyrinth of shantytowns, corridors, and hexagonal courtyards — "hexes" in the local parlance. Lowtown's poorest live in caves hewn out of the cliff face. The district is shoddily built and bears scars caused by collapsing walls. Foundry smoke smothers the area. Only a cold winter storm clears the air, but the icy wind howling over the mouths of old mineshafts hardly counts as relief. Occasionally, these Darktown shafts erupt with gouts of foul air known as chokedamp. It's not uncommon to find whole slums silently suffocated, frozen in the midst of everyday activity.
The walls surrounding Lowtown are highest by the harbor. Its busiest street leads up to Hightown, where the wealthiest Kirkwallers perch. When one stands in Lowtown, all one sees other than the rocky walls is Hightown. It glitters overhead, always in sight, yet always beyond reach.
—Codex Entry, Dragon Age II

Where the cabs don't stop
Where the food is slop
Where the hop-heads flop in the snow
Down on Skid Row

Nobody wants to be your friend
'Cos you're not from round here
As if that was something to be proud about
The pearly king of the Isle of Dogs
feels up children in the bogs
Down by the playing fields
someone sets a car on fire
I guess you have to go right down
before you understand just how
how low
how low a human being can go
Ooh, it's a mess alright
Yes it's
Mile End
Mile End, Pulp

This is the lowest level of Spider City - the "mean streets" of the realm. This place represents the worst of the Weaver. It's stagnant, decaying, and crumbling. The neon lights and fluorescent bulbs that illuminate more hospitable regions of Spider City are absent. Piles of garbage, offal and filth litter the streets, and juice-rich travelers are almost certain to be accosted or attacked outright. The discarded plasm of a drained victim is tossed into the tunnels of the Pit. The lords of Uptown mostly leave this area to its misery, but occasionally send their Spider Patrol into Old Tow to round up victims for juice processing or simply as a display of power. The residents hate and fear the lords of Uptown, but for the most part are too fearful and disorganized to do anything about it. Mostly, they hide or wander in search of the next hit of juice.
Old Town, the slums of the Cyber-Realmnote , Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Umbra: The Velvet Shadows

Down here, there is a despair in the air you have to breathe to understand. Poverty plucks at your sleeve with broken fingernails... hunger flashes its teeth from the shadows... and defeat lays in the gutter, waiting for the garbage. This is where the abandoned people live. All part of the great British "Return To Victorian Values" I guess.
Hellblazer: Going For It

Train tracks ahead. Along with junked cars, sagging buildings, and mounds of garbage. My eagle eyes showed me everything: the smashed liquor bottles, the empty vials. Spent bullet casings. Cigarette butts. Graffiti.
Even the air felt different here. Darker. Grayer.
Heavy with the absence of hope.
This battlefield had already been claimed by the enemy. And suddenly, I wasn't so sure we could take it back.
Animorphs #27: The Exposed

In the centre of the lower city, the Warrens boasted the worst streets, ones that squelched with ankle-deep shite and piss that autumn rains washed down from higher ground. Folks with decent professions and skills clawed their way upwind to West Docklands to avoid the stinking smog that prevailing winds blew southeast, and where sewage ran downstream into the warrens instead of pooling into your doorstep on rainy days.
The Traitor God, by Cameron Johnston

Huamdonggil is a notorious maze of crookeds, ramshacks, flophouses, pawnshops, drug bars and comfort hives belonging to a more benighted world. Hae-Joo left the ford in a lockup, warning me to keep my eyes and head hooded, as stolen fabricants end up in the slum's brothels - made serviceable after clumsy surgery.
Zigzagging alleys and conduits reeked of sewerage. Pure-bloods slumped in doorways, their skins inflamed by prolonged xposure to the city's scalding rain. Children lapped water from puddles. I asked who lived here; Hae-Joo told me how hospitals drain the Souls of migrants with enceph or leadlung until only enough dollars remain for a euthanizing jab - or a ride to Huamdonggil.
Sonmi-451, Cloud Atlas

We had faded in on Poverty Row. I had been in town long enough to know the place. It was the worst slum in the City, far from the swish Metro and Paramount districts. Jerry-built tenements cramped together, as convincing as cardboard flats. Every hotel room had an irritating sign flashing outside the window. Every alley had a mangy black cat set to cringe in a flashlight beam. When a door got slammed, the walls shook. There weren't many people on the streets at any time of the day. Extras cost money. This was the world of peeling paint, tap-dancing cockroaches, and the constant shadow of the boom mike. On Poverty Row, life had a low budget and a short running time.

He buys a new pack, wanders past the barriers which secure the West End in the evening, wanders in the heat and humidity and stink all the way up Charing Cross Road and then back again, past secondhand bookshops where bargain books burst in white hosannas from wooden racks, past the shuttered theatre at Cambridge Circus, the rows of boarded-up or burned-out shops where the homeless and dispossessed squat among blankets and shopping trolleys piled with bundles of clothing wrapped in a torn black plastic.
Someone is going through the pockets of a dead child lying facedown in the gutter. Blood is pooled under the child's head - some streetkid shot by vigilantes, or by another streetkid. The man treats the body with a strange tenderness as he rolls it on its side to check his pockets. Three tramps have made a kind of encampment in the shuttered doorway of a wrecked shop. They squat in its meagre shade, watching passers-by. One gives Alex the finger. Another rackingly coughs into a scrap of paper: viral TB.
Fairyland, by Paul J McAuley

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