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Secrets Of Brooklyn: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel


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One Man's Labor Of Love Reveals A Mysterious Half-Mile Chasm Under The Borough That Has Plenty Of Secrets Reporting

Tony Tantillo BROOKLYN (CBS)

The tunnel that rests below Atlantic Avenue in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn is a true secret of the borough. It's believed to be the oldest train tunnel in the world.

CBS

 

Published reports state nearly half of Brooklyn residents use the subway to get to work. In fact, underground rails were critical to Brooklyn's development dating back to the 1800s.

 

And now, CBS 2 HD explores a 170-year-old train tunnel.

 

It's a secret of Brooklyn that shows what's below the surface can be just as fascinating as what happens on the streets every day.

 

Traffic cones on Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill are markers for a secret of Brooklyn. Thousands of people walk and drive over it every day.

 

Down a manhole is what is said to be the oldest train tunnel in the world -- and Bob Diamond is the man who re-discovered it.

 

CBS 2 HD: "About how far does this go?"

 

Diamond: "About half a mile. This was the original section of the Long Island Rail Road from 1844 when it was first opened up. The idea of this tunnel was to take the trains off the street that was congested with pedestrians and horse drawn vehicles and get them underneath the surface of the roadway out of everyone's way."

 

You can still see the indentations from the railroad ties, but the tunnel was closed in 1861, said to be outdated and no longer profitable.

 

"Originally when I found the tunnel the way you got inside is that you had to crawl on your stomach for 70 feet to a space a foot and a half high," Diamond said.

 

"We dug out a 110 cubic yards of dirt to make a passage way on top and this hill under the stairway that we built is the dirt that we dug out in the summer of 1982 -- all by hand, using picks and shovels."

 

CBS 2 HD: "Did you do any work in here besides streaming the lights?"

 

Diamond: "No, this is how it was when we found it. There was nothing inside it but perfect condition structurally."

 

CBS 2 HD: "No rats?"

 

Diamond: "No rats; no bugs; no nothing."

 

CBS 2 HD: "No bodies?"

 

Diamond: "Well, there's a body but he's hidden behind six-foot thick stone walls."

 

The body was possibly stashed there by the infamous "Smoky Hollow Gang."

 

CBS 2 HD: "You're telling me they used to kill cops here as a sport?"

 

Diamond: "Right."

 

And there's more folk lore here, too. Diamond said he's looking for missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's diary that are under a wall near Hicks Street.

 

CBS 2 HD: "Tell me about your relationship to Brooklyn and this tunnel."

 

Diamond: "That's the true love in my life -- the tunnel and Brooklyn itself. I've been working on this tunnel since December of 1979, so it's been gin on 31 years now. I started when I was 19 years old and an engineering student. It's my passion during my life's work."

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Every time I see pics from a Bob Diamond tour I get more and more amazed that he can physically enter and exit the tunnel.

 

Lol!

 

There's a tour coming up this Sunday...and it's Valentine's Day as well! Bring a girl so in the event that she gets scared she can hold onto your arms. :o

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Lol!

 

There's a tour coming up this Sunday...and it's Valentine's Day as well! Bring a girl so in the event that she gets scared she can hold onto your arms. :o

 

You know, the purpose of going on a date is to have yet another one.

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This Bod Diamond is really out there. He was on some special on the History Channel a few years back and was claiming all this crap like a LIRR locomotive is back there with the missing page of John Wilks Booths diary. Just crazy stuff.

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This Bod Diamond is really out there. He was on some special on the History Channel a few years back and was claiming all this crap like a LIRR locomotive is back there with the missing page of John Wilks Booths diary. Just crazy stuff.

 

From what I understand, he had quite a bit of support in Red Hook to have a light rail line built, but he's a political turn-off and lost a lot of prominent potential backers in the long run. I don't know him personally; I just know a few who do.

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Every time I see pics from a Bob Diamond tour I get more and more amazed that he can physically enter and exit the tunnel.

 

Lmfao! Well played ;)

 

Ironically enough, I was clearing out some old articles i saved from the papers and found an article about this last April. I'm just surprised all of a sudden they reported about it on tv just now, when the Daily News ran this story almost a year ago.

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I wanna go on that tour, how do I go about it?

Plus you need to have a flashlight or otherwise, you cannot go on tour.

Most best time is properly OpenHouseNew York events because Atlantic Av Tunnel might become part of free OpenHouse NY Events which is mostly 1st or 2nd weekend of October.

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Plus you need to have a flashlight or otherwise, you cannot go on tour.

Most best time is properly OpenHouseNew York events because Atlantic Av Tunnel might become part of free OpenHouse NY Events which is mostly 1st or 2nd weekend of October.

 

I have a book of matches to billion candlewatt powerd spotlights i'll manage.

And for the second part, I have no idea what your talking about.

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I have a book of matches to billion candlewatt powerd spotlights i'll manage.

And for the second part, I have no idea what your talking about.

http://www.ohny.org/

OpenHouse New York offers free behind-the-scene tours, restricted areas or public areas you normally cannot go.

Like tour of Brooklyn Navy Yard, (MTA) SubStation, or Atlantic Av Tunnel, or some schools.

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Ahhh ok 10-4 I did not know that, thank you.

Also some OHNY Tour, you have to either email or telephone.

Free copy of OHNY Booklet available at visitor centers few days before OpenHouse NY Weekend.

I tried to go on World Fair Trolley tour with Park Ranger at Flushing-Meadow, but due to my speach problem, I did not got in because of free.

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I went on this tour about a year and a half ago. Its well lit at the beginning, but as you go deeper, there's almost little to no light, which is why a flash light is recommended. Also had to sign a waiver to go for any "liability". As you get to the end the ground starts to get soggy, so you're better off wearing some rugged boots. I think its kinda worth it though. You see some hundred year old equipment and such, and eerie old writing on the wall. Just gotta crawl at the beginning before the steps to avoid some power cables.

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I went on this tour about a year and a half ago. Its well lit at the beginning, but as you go deeper, there's almost little to no light, which is why a flash light is recommended. Also had to sign a waiver to go for any "liability". As you get to the end the ground starts to get soggy, so you're better off wearing some rugged boots. I think its kinda worth it though. You see some hundred year old equipment and such, and eerie old writing on the wall. Just gotta crawl at the beginning before the steps to avoid some power cables.

 

Thats it, I'm going when it gets warmer

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It's my understanding that the tunnel is "climate-controlled," that it averages 68 degrees year-round. No need to wait, it's warmer down there than up here. :cool:

 

If its 68 year round, then i'm calling time warner to see if i can get cable down there.

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