The KCB mustered up a Sunday afternoon to take the Atlantic Avenue tunnel tour. A couple of awesome things beforehand though; first, I went to the Willoughby 99 cents store and 4 AA batteries and two flashlights cost $3.23, which I thought was pretty good.
As I lined up outside of the confusion that is Trader Joe's, the line got really long. Two things about this tour that could prove inconvenient; if you're the last one down or up from the manhole, it's a long wait. A very long wait. Not that being down in the tunnel is more visually stimulating.
Once you're down there, you're greeted by a portly fellow by the name of Bob Diamond who is jovial, kindly asks you to watch your step, and whatnot. You figure out that the man is THE man who re-found this place. Everyone gathers in the dark with flashlights whizzing around the ceiling. By this point you're already an hour into the wait.
For many, this story could get tiresome. But for me, Bob Diamond gave a wonderful, sprawling monologue that lasted 3 stops along the tunnel and went from the construction of the subway tunnel through the ramifications in history of it to his personal story. He's told it so many times, and tells the story with humor and an assurance. It's like his calling, a unique historical artifact that he alone has such a great knowledge about.
What's even more awesome is there's stuff yet to be discovered; Bob is trying to unearth, literally, a legend: that there is a full size train behind the end of the tunnel (east end) and possibly more important things within that train.
If you have bad knees, ankles, or feet, this tour might not be for you; the ground is hard and the cold humidity makes spending an hour and a half in dampness feel a bit much. I was drawn to the story though; there's not much to see otherwise; it's really the feeling of standing in the tunnel. It's kind of like the part in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze where the turtles find a hidden subway station with several train cars and furnishings and whatnot. There's no furnishings here, but Bob's voice will carry you through a unique piece of Brooklyn history, and you'll be glad you went.
Who doesn't like going down a manhole anyway? The tour is 15 dollars cash. Make reservations (groups are large but they only take a certain number when they do the tour) and come early so you can get in and out quick.
Ninja, ninja, RAP ninja, ninja, RAP: