Brooklyn Underground Tunnel Tours Are Now Six Feet Under

City Revokes Longtime Rail Buff's Permission To Run Tours

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    NEWSLETTERS

    300 people who had signed up for an underground tunnel tour this Sunday in downtown Brooklyn will have to find something else to do.

    The City has shut down the tour operator, Atlantic Ave. Tunnel Tours, and its longtime guide, Bob Diamond. The Fire Department said the fact that only one exit allows people in and out of the hidden passageway makes it potentially dangerous. 

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    "This is a life safety issue," said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer.

    But Diamond says it's all political. "They don't want me, I'm the outsider and I'm gone now," said Diamond. "I've been showing movies and having art shows down there for 30 years, and there's never been a problem."

    But the Fire Department said it became aware of new plans to show films in the cramped tunnel, part of an original subway tube first constructed in 1844. The FDNY said it would be dangerous to gather a large crowd in a dark space with only one way out.

    "We acted appropriately," said Dwyer.

    Diamond said he's asked the Department of Transportation for years to open other entryways, since the current way in involves lifting a manhole cover at Atlantic and Court Streets.

    "This is a catch-22," said Diamond. "There's four other entrances. They can easily be opened up, but for the last eight years DOT has refused to issue the permits for those other permits."

    A DOT spokesman, Dean Montgomery, said: "In consideration of FDNY’s serious public safety concerns regarding the use of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel, we have informed Mr. Diamond of the revocation of his revocable consent and informed him earlier today that he no longer has consent to access this area."

    Diamond has no current plans to fight city hall.

    "We're done, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg," he said.