BROOKLYN, NY – A local resident is attempting to have a hidden subway tunnel excavated for the historical secrets it might hold.
Bob Diamond, founder of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, was always fascinated with trains. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he had heard rumors of a forgotten subway tunnel that had been sealed up in the 1800’s and struck off any transit maps. The tunnel supposedly houses a steam locomotive lying on its side, which contains pages of John Wilkes Booth’s lost diary.
As expected, city officials attempted to dissuade him, saying that people had looked before but never succeeded. However, Diamond discovered an old scroll that showed blueprints of the Atlantic Tunnel. The paper featured what Diamond took to be the location of a manhole that could access the tunnel. He soon found the manhole right where it was marked, sitting in the middle of a street. After crawling down, lo and behold, he found it!
It was built in 1844 by the Long Island Rail Road, but the tunnel was sealed off in 1861 when the railroad became less profitable. It is a half-mile long and is officially the world’s oldest subway tunnel. Diamond has since helped restore it and conducts monthly tours.
The catch? While the tunnel was indeed empty, one end was bricked up. Diamond firmly believes that the historical treasures lie just beyond the wall, but the Department of Transit will not issue him a permit to excavate: “There is no indication that the project — with no development or repair purpose — would merit the impact of disruptive, long-term lane closures.”
A documentary is being made on Diamond’s quest, called What’s Behind the Wall. The filmmakers hope to raise enough money to push through the excavation and film what is indeed behind the brick wall. Check out the trailer below, which features an interview with Bob Diamond: