Monday, February 23, 2009

Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel -- What's Behind the Wall?

Bob Diamond's famous Atlantic Avenue Tunnel tour took place again Sunday (the open manhole cover at Atlantic and Court Streets is the only outward sign of all the activity taking place in the tunnel under the street).

Diamond discovered the long-lost tunnel -- which runs under Atlantic Avenue between Boerum Place and Hicks Street -- in 1981, after hearing about the legend of a Civil War era rail tunnel on a radio show. After an eight-month search (during which he was repeatedly advised by City officials to give up on his lost cause) he struck gold -- uncovering, intact, the world's first subway tunnel.

Diamond is now trying to get permission and funds knock down a wall at the west end of the tunnel. He thinks there may be a perfectly preserved locomotive from the 1800s behind the wall -- or even the missing pages of Booth's diary that list the conspirators involved in Lincoln's death.

Trey Nelson ( is producing a movie about the tunnel. Here's a snippet from the film:


- Mole People Back in Brooklyn?
- Lineup For Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour
- Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return
- He Might Be Crazy -- But Wouldn't You Love to Take the Trolley in Brooklyn?
- The Tunnel Rats of Atlantic Avenue NY Times

Photo by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.


Anonymous said...

What an amazing story! All that history right under the streets of Brooklyn!

Anonymous said...

We went down into the tunnel last summer. I recommend it highly. Wear sneakers, bring a flashlight.

jmnatch said...

I would not recommend this. Well if youre young and in shape maybe. But when I went people were leaving, even young people. First you go down a very slippery ladder, then you have limbo under some obstruction. Then you have squeeze through a little hole, that people were struggling to get through. Then you walk down uneven makeshift stairs. Then you see the tunnel, and that’s it. Its just a hole, no turns, just straight and nothing is there. The ground is full of holes. Even with peoplpe walking ahead of you and with a flashlight you cant help but step in holes. I turned my ankle a couple of times and saw others struggle. The tour guide is extremely verbose. He wastses sooooo much time elongating his stories needlessly. I left after 1 hr 45 mts and he was still talking. Several people left early. I went on a cold November day and I was pouring sweat. I heard at least two other people complaining it was hot. I am shocked to see they have this tour in August. Are they insane? No wonder they make you sign a waiver to say you cant sue if you almost die. This is no where close to the trouble. It’s a dark hole. Read about it on the internet in 1/100th the time the verbose tourguide will waste. Avoid this.

Anonymous said...

When we went it was a very hot day outside but naturally cool deep under atlantic ave. It was fabulous and eerie. It was like a cave, rich with history. We loved Mr. Diamond's stories, and the sense he conveyed of the dream of the thing. Yes, you have to be careful of holes, and it's dark. It's not Disneyland, it's a very old tunnel under Atlantic Ave. You might turn your ankle, and you might turn your ankle climbing Mount Marci, too.