The Verge: Tunnel vision

Bob Diamond excavating the tunnel entrance in 1980. He gained access to the tunnel in 1981.
Bob Diamond excavating the tunnel entrance in 1980. He gained access to the tunnel in 1981.

The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits. Legend has it that the tunnel was reopened in the 1920s when it was used for mushroom growing and bootlegging, and in the 1940s when the FBI opened it looking for Nazis. But soon after, it was lost. In the 1950s two historians attempted to find it and failed.

When Diamond rediscovered the tunnel in 1980, he was just a 20-year-old engineering student on a scholarship. The media made him a hero. He decided to restore the tunnel for the city instead of taking an engineering job. Gradually he built a career — and an identity — around the 169-year-old underpass.

Suddenly, all that was gone.

Tunnel vision: how an obsessed explorer found and lost the world’s oldest subway | The Verge.

Wow. What an incredible story. There’s something so amazing about these kinds of slices of hidden, urban history. And The Verge are getting pretty bloody good at telling a good story.

Enjoy the words, lap up the photographs – and most of all, do take the ten minutes to watch the video. It is incredibly well-made.

Advertisements