…so Gothamist today picked up the story that anyone with their ear in the underground has known for a few months now: Amtrak has painted over much of the freedom tunnel.
The rumor is janet Nazipolatino road through the tunnel on Amtrak one day and was appalled at all the graffiti down there. Thus, someone threw a huge pile of cash at Amtrak to paint and ‘better secure’ freedom tunnel.
With this new monumental act of state sponsored vandalism, NYC lost a huge amount of priceless art. The works of art in freedom tunnel ran the gauntlet of graffiti, and included everything from a dizzying array of throwys by FE to a 20×30 foot reproduction of Goya’s ‘3rd of May’ by Freedom and Smith. Many of these were priceless works, some created nearly 25 years ago.
There is absolutely no good reason for this state-sponsored whitewash to have occurred. The tunnel is out of public view so no civilians ever complained about it. To paint over the entire tunnel surely cost taxpayers a huge amount of money. Think about it: 2 walls, running along 2 miles of tunnel, 12-14 feet high. how many gallons of paint was wasted on this project? How many man hours at union wages were wasted on this utterly ridiculous endeavor? What is the total cost to taxpayers for this completely pointless destruction? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars were thrown at this? Money that could have been used to feed the poor, bail out the MTA to keep subway fares down, aid in the construction of the 2nd avenue tunnel… there are dozens of more important projects around NYC that all this time and cash could have been better used on.
This isn’t the first time that Amtrak has tried to ‘secure’ and clean up freedom tunnel. Several times in the 1990s they evicted homeless people and sealed up entrances to the tunnel. Those entrances were always broken open again, or new ones were created. Many of the homeless moved right back into the tunnel and never left. The tunnel is simply too big to ever be completely secured, and this new creation of miles of clean wall space is just a brand new canvas which will be retaken by graffiti artists in time.
Meanwhile, all of the exits to this tunnel are chained shut and locked with ‘102’ high security locks. If a train were to derail and burn in the tunnel, there is no escape. NYPD and FDNY do not have 102 keys. They would have to wait on amtrak to show up to get access to the tunnel, and by the time that happened, dozens, potentially hundreds, would be dead.
Way to go Amtrak and Federal ‘security’ morons. You succeeded in throwing away more taxpayer money while not making this tunnel one bit safer for the public. I for one am completely disgusted by your useless idiotic actions, and you can be damn sure you won’t be getting one red penny out of me on tax day next year.