Thursday, April 30, 2009

'What's Behind the Wall?' Atlantic Ave. Tunnel Mystery Picks Up Steam With CNN Coverage

CNN's Eric Landford (video above) has picked up on the amazing Bob Diamond/Atlantic Avenue Tunnel story, which we've followed here at McBrooklyn over the past couple of years (see links below).

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 Brooklyn's keeper and historian of this historic, cave-like expanse. Down in it's cool, otherworldly recesses, he tells of its building (by hundreds of Irish workers in seven months, including one murder), how it was used and where it led.

Trey Nelsen and Jerry Kolber are producing a movie about the tunnel and what Diamond believes is hidden behind a bulkhead wall at its west end: a steam locomotive from the 1830's -- and (possibly) some pages from the diary of John Wilkes Booth. (See

Diamond is now trying to get permission and funds to knock down the wall. Even if no train is found, the movie is about a regular guy who pursued his dream, the filmmakers say.

(Aside: We at McBrooklyn once spoke to an old timer who told us that he had seen a bit of a train, when he was a boy, from a hole in the wall of an Atlantic Ave. basement.)

The next tour takes place June 7. (Wear sneakers and bring a powerful flashlight.) Visit the web site of Diamond's Brooklyn Historic Railway Association.

- Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel: What's Behind the Wall?
- Mole People Back in Brooklyn?
- Lineup For Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour
- Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return

Read the history of the Bob Diamond discovery of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel at the Brooklyn Eagle.

Photos copyright MK Metz, 2009

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