The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel has been in the news again. This time around, the story is of how the NYC DOT has stopped cooperating with National Geographic and Bob Diamond on gaining access to what may be an abandoned steam locomotive in the never-reopened potion of the tunnel. As the Daily News story describes, a lot of chest pounding egomania and bad drama has resulted in the city DOT refusing to work with anyone on re-entering this long sealed tunnel and verifying exactly what this large metallic object under the street is.
Let’s forget all this locomotive stuff for a moment though. There is a much simpler reason why the NYC DOT needs to allow a responsible party access to this tunnel (or to reopen access themselves).
There is a sealed up portion of tunnel under a busy street that has not been inspected in decades. (Yes, half of the tunnel was reopened and used for tours by Bob Diamond, but the rest has remained sealed and unseen by anyone in decades). Am I the only person in NYC that sees the absolute insanity of that? This is a potential massive sinkhole disaster waiting to happen. Google ‘Mineshaft Sinkhole” or ‘Tunnel Sinkhole” if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Old tunnels and mine shafts collapse. Such a collapse on a busy Brooklyn street would very likely kill a few people. It might take down neighboring buildings. Why are we waiting on potential disaster? Why is the NYC Government allowed to be criminally negligent in maintaining their property?
Instead of working with those who would create a means of access to that tunnel for free, the NYC DOT (and by that measure, NYC Government all the way up to DeBlasio) is akin to a small child sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling LALALALALALALA ignoring the people they’re suppose to represent. (And keep in mind – this portion of the Atlantic avenue tunnel is NOT the only abandoned, uninspected tunnel in NYC)
If I lived in that area, I’d demand an inspection from my ‘elected’ representatives. I’d demand action (for whatever it’s worth) from the local community board. I’d file suit with the city if I owned property above this tunnel.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be very cool to finally answer the question of what this large metallic object is, and for someone to gain access to a tunnel that has been sealed under an NYC street for decades. And maybe I’m being paranoid – the tunnel is probably in fine shape – but inspecting it is a great excuse to see what is down there, and there are absolutely no known records of any inspections of it since it was closed. The lack of inspections can only lead one to believe that the NYC Government doesn’t care about what’s down there at all. Legal action to compel them to inspect the tunnel and verify the structural safety of the street and buildings above on Atlantic Avenue is our only recourse.
It would also be to the benefit of our first responders to inspect this tunnel so as to not put their lives needlessly in danger. Where is the FDNY on this? NYPD? A collapse of this tunnel would be a risk to their lives as well. If there commanders don’t care, what do their unions have to say about this? (The local COs of each agency probably don’t even know this is an issue, to be fair).
Does the DOT not value the lives of first responders?
Hey DeBlasio – what about you?
Enough of this chest pounding ego bullshit. DeBlasio, tear down this wall. Inspect this tunnel. And maybe help find something really fucking cool in the process.