Networks ‘dig’ Mr. Diamond

Networks ‘dig’ Mr. Diamond

Thirty feet below Atlantic Avenue, a star is rising.

With a recent appearance on CNN, as well as ABC News, urban explorer and tunnel maven Bob Diamond is now attracting a national audience. And a feature−length documentary on his exploits is garnering the attention of several major networks, including The National Geographic Channel, according to Jerry Kolber, the film’s producer.

But the bright lights don’t seem to faze Diamond. The founder and president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA), and re−discoverer of the tunnel on Atlantic Avenue between Hicks and Court Streets, is taking his latest star turn in stride. “It hasn’t been overwhelming, it’s been gratifying and long−awaited,” Diamond said. “It’s a lot of fun that the history of the tunnel is the subject of so much interest.”

Diamond is used to the fame — his travails and triumphs have been chronicled in this newspaper for years.

The tunnel, built in 1844 as a route between New York Harbor and Boston, was sealed up and abandoned in 1861. Diamond’s belief is that an old steam locomotive is buried within one of the tunnel walls. Because acetylene torches were not yet available to dismantle the locomotives, they were often buried underground, he noted.

Kolber said national interest in Diamond is not a surprise. “Once people hear about him, they want to know more,” he said. “The same thing that made us want to make the film is making the national news outlets want to know more.” Kolber is anticipating a deal in the next few weeks. The film could be ready by the end of the year, he said.

While the Department of Transportation recently turned down Diamond’s petition to dig for the steam locomotive, Kolber said he plans to make a “persuasive case” that a dig will be good for the city, “and for American history.”

If nothing is behind the wall, Kolber said, so be it. “Not every story has a happy ending,” he said.