The Sterling Palisade
The Sterling Palisade
Urban legends, particularly amongst the municipal workers and subway techs that take to the depths every day, cling to a story about a once-beautiful, but now washed-out clump of tunnels, far beneath any others, thousands of feet – perhaps miles – beneath the city. Their administrators often chide them for their superstition.
Truth is, the Sterling Palisade does exist. Created by the robber Barons in the twenties, it is to subways what the Titanic was to ocean liners and the Hindenburg was to airships. Opulent, superlative, and ultimately, disastrous. No one seems to know what happened to the Sterling Palisade, and if anyone does, they sure aren’t talking.
Airy and spacious, the once-glittering Stations – there are thirteen in all, scattered throughout the city – are testaments to forgotten beauty. During the seventies the system accidentally became a fresh-water shunt for four years. The years of dust were washed away, and the eerily beautiful stations appear to be preserved as if frozen in time. The Palisade Station, located almost exactly a mile beneath the Empire State Building, is a gigantic curving rotunda arched high around a central column with now shattered stained glass depicting great moments in history leading up to the founding of New York City. The newsstands still contain waterlogged copies of newspapers and magazines from the exact date the catastrophe took place – Christmas Eve, 1921.
The stations are achingly beautiful, plush, sweet-smelling and warm. There are remains of a few stores, even, with mannequins in the windows displaying the most avaunt-grade fashions of the early twenties. Rumors hold that some of the safe deposit boxes still contain millions of dollars worth of gold, jewels, and antiques. The clocks are all stopped at midnight. It has remained untouched like this to this day.
Simply, any Underworlder with a brain in his bean-can knows better that to venture anywhere even near the Sterling Palisade. Entire communities have battled for the right to move down there with hopes of a plush life in the warm, beautiful stations. The losers find themselves the winners, and the “winners” are never heard from again. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of adventurers have ventured to the enticing stations with plans as noble as rescuing the others who have disappeared or as base as grabbing as much loot as they could. None have ever returned.
The mystery of the Sterling Palisade permeates the Underworld. What is down there? What does it want? Will it ever venture out? So far, whatever menaces the beautiful stations remains a mystery, but it seems to ignore anything that does not come bother it’s domain. Whether or not this will remain the case is, like everything else concerning the nightmare paradise, unknown.