2 years ago I posted a Daily News Article about an urban legend in Brooklyn. A rare 1830’s locomotive was believed hidden behind a wall in the abandoned Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. Turns out the legend was true, but unfortunately, it will have to remain buried in the past.
Under Atlantic Avenue lies an abandoned Long Island Rail Road tunnel. It is the oldest tunnel in Brooklyn and dates back to the 1840’s. The tunnel runs from Boerum Place to the Waterfront and was built by the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad. The tunnel was used to transport produce from Long Island to the Ferries, from there they were delivered to grocers around New York. The tunnel was closed in the 1860’s. There was much speculation that the tunnel was used by bootleggers, smugglers and spies, but those rumors remain unfounded. In 1980 urban explorer and Brooklynite Robert Diamond rediscovered the tunnel and had it re-opened. Up until 2010, the public was allowed to take guided tours on some Saturdays throughout the summer. The group started from a manhole at Atlantic Ave. and Court Street.
As of 2012 the D.O.T has yet to give a proper reason as to why the tunnel was closed, save for there being fire hazards and thus placing the blame for the closure on the FDNY. To see pictures and read more about this fascinating piece of Brooklyn history, visit the main website–Brooklyn Historic Railway Society. You can also find out how to help petition to get this tunnel once again opened to the public and read all the pertinent information and actions taken by the D.O.T on the website.
I’m disappointed I never had a chance to see this tunnel in person. I spent more time the last few years reading about Old Brooklyn and old New York than actually seeing it. This year will certainly be different. I have to see what’s left before Brooklyn is completely remodeled for future generations and all that’s left is one little cobblestone on Water Street.
This is a fascinating image of Atlantic and Nostrand Avenue from 1896. I always love when I can still find the old cobblestone streets and trolley tracks. You mostly see them in downtown Brooklyn.
I’ve discovered a fun way to do Before and After photos with these postcards by using Google Earth. It is such an amazing program to work with, and almost unsettling to know that satellites are watching and streaming images right up to our front doors. I’m sure most people in the 19th Century could not have imagined that humans were capable of such inventions, except maybe the fathers of the science fiction genre, writers Jules Verne and H.G. Wells among other lesser known writers.
If I were to explain it to someone from the past, I would have to say something along the lines that it’s a man-made device that can hover above the earth and mimic the eyes of God.
Atlantic Avenue and Nostrand as of 2012
(Hopefully this closer to being right. My sense of direction is a little faulty.)