Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Brooklyn Tunnel

Excerpt from the Curious Expeditions blog:

Walt Whitman once wrote a column for the Brooklyn Standard called “Brooklyniana.” In an 1861 column, “A passage of Solemnity and Darkness,” Whitman wrote of “the old tunnel, that used to lie there underground, a passage of Acheron like solmnity and darkness, now all closed and filled up, and soon to be utterly forgotten, with all its reminiscences…”

The Atlantic Avenue tunnel was built in 1844, by Cornelius Vanderbilt, but by the 1850s political manoeuvring had declared trains in Brooklyn a nuisance and the tunnel was scheduled to be closed. A $130,000 contract (remember this is 1850 dollars) was awarded to a dodgy character who signed off that the tunnel had been filled and sealed. Turns out he didn't quite tell the truth.

In 1981, after nearly 2 years of persistent research, Bob Diamond descended a manhole and was able to confirm the tunnel did indeed still exist today. The tunnel isn't fully opened but they're making a documentary about what might be on the other side of the second half of the tunnel wall.

Read the full blog post entitled A Diamond Below which includes pictures.