Under Atlantic Avenue In The World's Oldest Subway Tunnel

Buried for over 150 years right under Brooklyn's very busy Atlantic Avenue is a long-forgotten and amazing rail tunnel. I have heard about this tunnel's rediscovery in 1980 by Bob Diamond since probably the early 1990's, and have long wanted to check it out.  But tours were infrequent, always filled up quickly, and it just kept falling off my radar.  But a couple friends recently got tours through Open House New York, and I went today, and it was well worth it. 

The tunnel is cool, but it is, after all, a hole in the ground.  What's really amazing is Mr. Diamond's incredible (mostly true) stories of both the tunnel and his re-discovery of the entrance way in 1980. 

You enter through a manhole in the middle of busy Atlantic avenue:

Climb down a ladder (note, I took some of these pictures on the way out, so the point of view is reversed):

Crawl under a Con Ed duct bank:

And then reach the actual entrance to the tunnel itself.  My glasses were fogged by this point, and my eyes hadn't adjusted yet, so I could hardly see anything.

You then go down some steps:

And then you're in the tunnel itself:

At three stops along the way, Mr. Diamond tells the group the fascinating history of rail in Brooklyn and of the tunnel itself.

Several blocks later, you reach the end:

An abandoned steam train is rumored to be behind this wall.

Tons of info here on the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association site, and info on future tours is here.  Click any photo above for a larger version; many more here.

Note: I took these photos with a tripod and my new 10-24mm Nikkor wide angle zoom.  I bought it for storm chasing but it worked great down here.  Thanks to Max (in the first photo) for carrying the tripod!