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Cobble Hill Tunnel Tours May Soon Close (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post   Jonah Green   First Posted: 12/13/10 01:55 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Until recently, New Yorkers have been able to glimpse a piece of decayed (but preserved) history below ground-- the abandoned Atlantic Avenue tunnel in Brooklyn. Opened in 1844, the Cobble Hill Tunnel is the oldest below-ground subway in North America. In the past few years intrepid visitors were (legally) sheparded down into the belly of the tunnel with flashlights and encouraged to look around. [SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS]

Last week, we wrote about an amazing event that Rooftop Films was throwing called "Trapped in the Tunnel" in which films were showcased in the abandoned tunnel, along with an accompanying tour by tunnel aficionado Bob Diamond. The organizers found out hours before their event was to begin that the FDNY was shutting it down for safety reasons.

The Rooftop Films released this statement:

This came as a complete surprise to us, as we had every reason to believe the events were entirely legal and sanctioned. While we believe that the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is a valuable and historic New York City landmark, we also have a strong commitment to safety, and hope that arrangements can be made to reopen the Tunnel safely and legally so that it can again be enjoyed by all New Yorkers and visitors.

It appears now that this episode has caused irreparable harm to the regular weekly tour in the tunnel. Organizer Bob Diamond says that the FDNY is threatening to shut him down for good. "I believe these actions on the City's part are purely politically motivated for some reason unknown to me," he told Gothamist.

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