Tommy Latrella is haunted by the ghost of his older brother Jimmy, who died a hero on 9/11. Unable to live up to his family’s expectations, Tommy rebels and becomes a graffiti artist. He rides the subway from his home in Brooklyn to the furthest points in the Bronx, “tagging” it and spraying his signature on cars and platforms all over New York City. But when he plays a dangerous prank in Times Square station, the cavernous heart of the city’s transit system, his friend the subway turns on him and hurls Tommy back in time.
He lands in 1918, finding a home among the community of Italian immigrants on the Lower East Side and joining a crew digging the subway tunnels that will one day connect the city’s far-flung neighborhoods. Just as Tommy is adjusting to his new life, a historic subway crash propels him to the depth of the Depression in the 1930s, where he’s reduced to living in a Hooverville in Central Park and begging for food. Out of desperation, he accepts a job helping gangsters profit from the Prohibition. But when Tommy makes a rash decision, the Third Avenue El sends him straight into 1942 and the middle of World War II. The Army offers him the possibility of a new life—if he agrees to sacrifice his wellbeing for the common good.
By experiencing hardships that were the daily reality of generations of New Yorkers before him, Tommy gains perspective on his comfortable existence. Will he ever return to the present? He’s desperate to mend his ways, but the subway trains may have other plans for him.