City renews permit for 10 more years of tunnel tours

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city last week renewed the permit allowing a subterranean tour guide to continue his wildly popular descents into the Atlantic Avenue tunnel.

“We are very excited to announce the New York City Department of Transportation has generously renewed our franchise on the historic Atlantic Avenue Tunnel for another ten years,” said Bob Diamond, the president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association.

“This signals the rebirth and the rejuvenation of our tunnel project,” Diamond continued.

Diamond rediscovered the world’s oldest subway, built back in 1844 by the Long Island Rail Road, closed in 1861 and found again in 1980 by Diamond.

The tunnel—and Diamond—have been featured on the History Channel show “Cities of the Underworld,” in an episode entitled “New York: Secret Societies.”

“Our near term goals include working with Hungry Man Productions, on a feature length documentary about the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, which will include the excavation of a 170-year-old steam locomotive, reported to be buried in the western end of the tunnel portal,” he said.

The permit, initially granted to Diamond by the city’s Board of Estimate back in 1986, will enable him to continue the guided tunnel tours, “and work to develop historical re-enactments, dramatically highlighting the tunnel’s colorful history in addition to the oral history of the guided tours” he noted. In 1990, under the rewritten City Charter, that particular function of the board was subsumed by the DOT.

Diamond’s long term goal is making the tunnel the centerpiece of a historical streetcar loop around Downtown Brooklyn.

The next tunnel tour is scheduled for Sunday September 28. Call 718-941-3160 for reservations. For more information, visit us on the web at To preview our Hungry Man documentary trailer, go to

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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