A day by day and often hourly account of a temp

Friday, January 05, 2007

History Lesson

This rash of subway heroism, what with the teenager-saving and baby-delivering, has made me think of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s a little known fact to many New Yorkers that there is an abandoned Long Island Rail Road tunnel beneath Atlantic Ave. that ran between Hicks and Boerum place until it was sealed in 1861. It’s also a little known fact that in the basement of Last Exit there is a tunnel leading to the tunnel, only separated by a simple brick wall. It also makes sense to me upon further inspection (thanks to Wikipedia) as the Last Exit has always been a bar, that because the tunnels were used during prohibition to grow mushrooms and hold whiskey stills, that the tunnels from the Last Exit basement were constructed for easy access to said bootlegged alcohol. For all we know they are still using said whiskey. That would explain why people get so positively drunk there; prohibition alcohol was notoriously too strong and often toxic.

But enough about my conspiracy theories, let’s get back to the tunnels.

Here’s some fun facts from Wikipedia:

“In March 1916, the FBI suspected German terrorists were making bombs in the tunnel, and broke through. They found nothing, installed an electric light, and resealed it. In the 1920s it was reportedly used for both mushroom growing and bootleg whiskey stills. In 1936, the New York City Police Department broke into it with jackhammers to look for the body of a hoodlum supposedly buried there. In 1941 it was again inspected by the federal Works Progress Administration to determine its structural strength. A few years later, it was once again opened, this time by the FBI, in an unsuccessful search for spies. During the late 1950s it was inspected by two rail historians, George Horn and Martin Schachne. It fell from public notice, but was located by an 18-year-old, Robert ‘Bob’ Diamond in 1981, who entered from a manhole at Atlantic and Court Street.”

That guy Bob does annual tours and no, I’ve never gone but yes, L-Rose I’ll let you know when the next one will be.

In an unrelated story, Monday may be my last day. Woo-hoo!


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