Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Oldest Subway Tunnel in the World... in Brooklyn?

I've been meaning to share this, but got side tracked... and since the Tunnel is no longer open to the public, I got a boost to share these photos.

This past September, Z and I went into a manhole, in the middle of Atlantic Ave. (near Cobble Hill) and saw THE oldest subway tunnel in the world.  OK, so it was on a tour, so not as adventurous as if we'd discovered it on our own... but we DID really climb into a manhole, and went down to a place built in 1844.  The tunnel was apparently built to transport goods from the water front to inland faster by avoiding street traffic. The brake technology in trains back then was bad, so it was best to avoid pedestrians among other things.

It's quite amazing that this tunnel was built in about 7 months using very simple building techniques. Our tour guide (and the man who re-discovered the Tunnel) Bob Diamond said the builders (who were mainly Irish immigrants) laid brick by brick and used an arch to hold the brick in place while the joint compound dried. Once the wall was dry the arch would be moved to the next section, and so on. I'd also like to add that the workers were paid cents per hour, and this was considered a good living back then.

What I found most interesting are all the spooky stories and supposed illegal activities that happened in the Tunnel after it was closed. Pirates, Bootleggers, and Spooky Hollow... The historical information about the Tunnel is intense, so here is a link of some historical images and articles.

Lumps where the railroad tracks were are still there!

Uhh... floating head...?

This was definitely a prop...

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