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The Freedom Tunnel
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(I took several hundred photos, but am just posting a few here as an overview. I may post more in the comments as time passes...)
This article was viewed 474327 times (Counting ceased in 2017)
Internet Archive: web.archive.org/web/*/http://citynoise.org/article/8210
Urbex Aficionado: 9th Jun 2008 - 15:51 GMT
Wow! Just.... wow. This is a great posting. This place is legendary, but I've only ever seen it online. I'm glad to see your extensive, comprehensive photos. I saw some new things here that I haven't seen before. And at the risk of sounding gratuitous, if you have more photos, please post them! I'm sure I speak for others when I say I can't get enough of this sort of thing!
chuckvideo: 9th Jun 2008 - 16:05 GMT
I love that 8th image in so many ways, the rays of light are incredible, and the way the light reflects off of the front rail draws your eye to the front elements.
Jamie: 9th Jun 2008 - 16:23 GMT
this one has to be my favourite
So is the tunnel currently in use (by trains) ?
kellymac: 9th Jun 2008 - 16:26 GMT
wow these are just beautiful. i'm finishing up Jennifer Toth's book now, great timing! thank you for sharing and i'll be checking back to see if you post more!
Madaline McBain: 9th Jun 2008 - 16:54 GMT
WOW - those are amazing.
So no trains through the tunnel anymore?
Chitin: 9th Jun 2008 - 16:57 GMT
These are incredible. Is the tunnel still in service? How do you avoid oncoming trains?
Peter: 9th Jun 2008 - 17:09 GMT
yes, the tunnel is very much in use, as the tunnel is the main artery that connects Metro-North Railroad and amtrak trains to penn station. dodging the trains and staying out of their line of sight is key.
kellymac: you should take toth's writing with a grain of salt... its an exciting read, for sure, but largely fictionalized... it was long ago proved to be filled with extensive exaggerations/fabrications and factual errors. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_People
i only passed one homeless person who seemed to jsut be passing through the tunnel, headed downtown. some say that a few still live there, but that nowadays theyre much more secretive and subtle, so who knows. i can only imagine what i might have walked right past and not even noticed...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Tunnel is a good read, though it's rather cursory and not wholly correct as far as the dates/timeline of the tunnel and some of the other details go. i think i might edit that wiki some, and add some of these photos...
kellymac: 9th Jun 2008 - 19:43 GMT
thanks for the links peter, my skepticism at the "factual" information in the book started with her claiming there are natural caves under Manhattan, much less ones accessible from subway passages. she clearly had a lot of interest in sensationalism.
kiwi: 9th Jun 2008 - 20:20 GMT
Wow. Those are lovely. My fave would have to be the one with the trunk, though. The contrast between bright mural and dark remnant is great.
codespace: 9th Jun 2008 - 20:42 GMT
do you have any hi-res versions of those photos? i'd like a hi-res version of the six shafts of sunlight for a wallpaper.
Peter: 9th Jun 2008 - 20:47 GMT
i have huge hi-res of all of these. email editors at citynoise dot org and ill make sure you get a copy of any youd like...
xyka: 10th Jun 2008 - 00:21 GMT
loved the report, and yes, my favorite one is with the 6 beams of lights.
very, very cool!
little ukraine: 10th Jun 2008 - 14:50 GMT
wow, peter, i think this post contains some of the best photos ive ever seen on CN...really really incredible...thanks for taking the trip and sharing!
Peter: 10th Jun 2008 - 15:19 GMT
thanks you guys... i had a great time down there, so its been nice to share these shots. i took so many photos in there, so it was hard deciding which to post here... im glad they dont all look the same, heh.
ill put more in the comments here when i get home today. i also plan on going back here soon... now that i got all the sort of "tourist" shots out of the way, there are more details and obscure bits id really like to photograph, besides all teh graf and the tunnel itself...
Micah: 12th Jun 2008 - 14:19 GMT
Woah. I never new this existed. Thanks for telling me, and awesome photos!
Britrock: 12th Jun 2008 - 14:35 GMT
Thanks Peter - I've learned something new and gained a fresh creative inspiration to start my day. Beautiful images.
Candlejack: 12th Jun 2008 - 14:45 GMT
This is just an amazing sight to see, and even more amazing is that you actually went down there, took so many high quality photographs, came back and put it all here to share with us. Thanks for the links, too, otherwise I wouldn't have known exactly what I was looking at, or why it was such a worthwhile place to explore and share with the world. Kudos to you, Peter!
Andrew: 12th Jun 2008 - 14:56 GMT
Great work with the light! Where is the other end of the tunnel and what does that look like?
levitypalmer: 12th Jun 2008 - 15:11 GMT
Thank you for seeing value in and sharing this. The light coming through the grates and moving across walls etc made me think of a stage with the light following a performer. There is a lot of artistic energy bouncing around that tunnel! (including your view of it) thank you thank you.
Hoolia: 12th Jun 2008 - 15:53 GMT
Wow. These are beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing these. You've been stumble thumb-upped.
mrsleep: 12th Jun 2008 - 16:16 GMT
If you can, find the film 'Dark Days'
Peter: 12th Jun 2008 - 16:20 GMT
indeed. "dark days" is a good movie. i hadnt seen it in years, and jsut watched it again after going into the tunnel and taking these shots...
leggs: 12th Jun 2008 - 16:46 GMT
This totally amazing, thank you for sharing. I have never heard or seen of this before, you just must show the world more
anon (mail01.aopwv.com): 12th Jun 2008 - 18:04 GMT
What an awesome adventure! Thanks for sharing the photos and info of this secret place.
vanillamay: 12th Jun 2008 - 18:30 GMT
Thank you, Peter, for sharing all these strange and beautiful pictures and feelings with us.This is a reality which is as usual at times a "wonder", which we don't notice and the role of the people, who have the ability and "the eye" to not only see it for themselves but to show it to others is blessed by God. Thank you.
Kevin_in_the_Uk: 12th Jun 2008 - 22:26 GMT
mrsleep says about the film dark days, I have a copy, my wife got it on amazon for me. Fantastic stories from the people who used to live down there. You might even be able to see clips on youtube. It also has a haunting soundtrack by DJ Shadow
Ash: 13th Jun 2008 - 16:01 GMT
Thanks for these photos! Ever since I saw Dark Days about 10 years ago I've had a fascination with the world beyond the seen - the abandoned corners of our existence. So captivating!
Kittycat Clover: 13th Jun 2008 - 16:11 GMT
How very unusual! The light effects are great - must be wonderful in 'real life'. Thanks for sharing this.
Jim: 13th Jun 2008 - 18:02 GMT
Dark Days -> video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4615469295729142806
oneoldman: 14th Jun 2008 - 03:03 GMT
Some of the most meaningful art of the 21st century is in the form of grafetti. Thank you for sharing this with us.
futurebird: 14th Jun 2008 - 03:15 GMT
I just did a painting today (from memory) of the freedom tunnel-- so, of course, the graffiti is all made up-- in fact, it's YOUR FAULT I started thinking about this again and did this painting. Your comment on my entry about the tunnel got me to thinking about how I've been thinking about how wonderful it'd be if a group of rouge mathematicians started doing math graffiti. So, I did a painting of the tunnel, but put in my own made up graffiti based on mathematics.
You're to blame for all of this!
Jane B.: 14th Jun 2008 - 05:46 GMT
hey PETER, can you PLEASE ANSWER this question?? =D
how were you able to get up there in that 125th street entrance? i've been trying to get into the freedom tunnel for so long but i just can't figure out the right way to go through with this!
i've seen that entrance, but all the way on the other side, across the highway n along that bike n ped. route...how do you get in??? please tell me!!!! =( PLEASE! i've been trying for months now!
Bekka: 14th Jun 2008 - 12:28 GMT
This place reminds me of a similar location in Bucharest, Romania [where I live] I've been there once and the atmosphere is just about the same...
Peter: 14th Jun 2008 - 19:27 GMT
jane b: come on, i cant really post that publicly on such a busy thread, you know that. its not that hard if you go poke around up there. email the editors and ask them :P
Pratik: 16th Jun 2008 - 00:43 GMT
just too cool. am wondering how did u manage that. grt work dude!!! bravo!!
James: 16th Jun 2008 - 13:47 GMT
Have to say though, the six lights are good, but my fave is the entrance. The contrast of it is brilliant
Shayleia: 17th Jun 2008 - 02:49 GMT
Thank you for sharing such a hauntingly beautiful journey. I have been in or through New York City a few times and I have always marvelled at the degrees of sheer talent that is depicted in some of the graffiti I have seen. Capturing the graffiti and art in so many degrees of light like you have has given a forlorn place such a surreal aspect and even a romanticized beauty that I never would have thought existed. Bravo for risking your life to capture it on film.
Emily: 17th Jun 2008 - 13:57 GMT
Wow. These are amazing and beautiful. The six shafts of light was my favorite, but they were all so great. Thanks for sharing these.
Katrin: 17th Jun 2008 - 19:03 GMT
Hey - Funny: my journey started with reading stuff about Leftover Crack, squatting and mole people while actually I should have prepared a talk about Billy Wilder and Some Like It Hot. Well, anyway, finally I found your photos and I have to say that they are amazing! Really fascinating! Thanks a lot for sharing, I just changed the topic of my talk ;).
Jeff: 19th Jun 2008 - 02:27 GMT
Great set of photos! For the past many years, I have stared down into the tunnel from above in Riverside Park watching Metro-North go by. I've always wondered what it looks like in there! Thx so much for sharing these with us all. I always wanted to sneak into the tunnel from one of the archways one day, but it's really nice that you got in there!
EinsteinsBrother: 19th Jun 2008 - 02:38 GMT
What a fabulous post. ANd what a marvelous place. It is so surreal it is almost dream-like. Is it like that in person???.. Maybe someday I'll be there.......
maykat18: 19th Jun 2008 - 08:30 GMT
I can not believe that the people who painted those pictures are only painting on walls. I think they should do some thing else with their talents and make money by doing something they are good at.
Peter: 19th Jun 2008 - 13:35 GMT
maykat: the types that paint in tunnels arent generally the types that are interested in milking their talents to make money...
Moo-Sama: 19th Jun 2008 - 15:31 GMT
It really is amazing that people would rather share something beautiful with everyone and gain nothing for themselves in the process.
Megan: 20th Jun 2008 - 05:35 GMT
This is the type of thing you need to go to New York to see... Plenty of people can go to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, but these paintings are the largely unknown beauties of the city. Thank you for posting this.
charlie : 21st Jun 2008 - 03:53 GMT
Great pictures I myself used to hang out in that tunnel for years back in the early years before the amtrak police kicked me out
SMUTBAGS: 21st Jun 2008 - 06:03 GMT
i really hope you post some more pics.it looks like the most amazing place ever.i cant believe chris papes stuff is still there,as far as graffiti goes thats incredible.that twist from 96 is crazy too.good shit
Flo: 22nd Jun 2008 - 01:28 GMT
I just stumbled here, as it appears have many others, and this is an amazing find. Thank you for sharing!
PROPIEDADDESHIREEN@GMAIL.COM: 22nd Jun 2008 - 01:58 GMT
i went to ny like 2 years ago and i love it i never got to that area of town
john: 22nd Jun 2008 - 03:07 GMT
If you think the tunnel looks great now you should have seen it back in the 70's I was 12 years old when I started going down there.
eskae: 22nd Jun 2008 - 23:48 GMT
Confusedkat: 23rd Jun 2008 - 04:33 GMT
These are absolutely wonderful.
Soupflowers: 23rd Jun 2008 - 08:06 GMT
Here are some more pictures if anyone is interested.
Gilligan: 25th Jun 2008 - 00:12 GMT
There are many places in this country I will never see in person, I thank you for taking me to this one.
robert: 26th Jun 2008 - 06:29 GMT
wonderful photos documenting spaces and their ghosts that few ever see. Would love to do an article on my web site... indizoo.com
sunshine: 27th Jun 2008 - 22:44 GMT
wow! thanks for sharing this, it was really interesting and I love graffiti!
joey: 28th Jun 2008 - 01:56 GMT
the unabomber lived in berkeley, ca for a while when he studied math at uc berkeley. ray pointed out the cottage today as we walked by it.
sie: 28th Jun 2008 - 06:24 GMT
i also just finished jennifer toth's book..thank you for posting such fantastic images!
justme: 29th Jun 2008 - 08:36 GMT
Pape's work is graffiti. Nontraditional but graf, nontheless. Respect!
Alejandro!: 30th Jun 2008 - 18:33 GMT
That "obsolete machine" picture seems like a Nine Inch Nails reference to me from the song Somewhat Damaged. This tunnel looks amazing, though.
admod: 30th Jun 2008 - 23:32 GMT
the freedom tunnel.top notch graf
leeds band bedlam-ago go.
mackie.p: 4th Jul 2008 - 17:26 GMT
Nice images Peter!
Im from the UK and currently working with rail workers producing images of the work that sits along the live tracks.
Panda_Chan: 7th Jul 2008 - 22:52 GMT
As a future art student I'm amazed by the art throughout my city. I didn't know this place existed and from the photos I'm tempted to take a walk through myself. It's nice to know that there are places that remain untouched in this city. A place of rebellion, struggle and humanity. I'm looking forward to more pictures.
Anon: 7th Jul 2008 - 22:55 GMT
Wow, these photos are awesome. And the artwork is fantastic!
Telemill: 8th Jul 2008 - 03:47 GMT
I can just imagine what the archaeologists are going to say when they discover this art vast years from now. How the most cultured of the beings of our time lived underground . . . how the art speaks of the conditions of this era. "Wonder were those artists are . . . they just disappeared . . ."
Kassie: 8th Jul 2008 - 03:56 GMT
I went here with my friend a couple months ago. We got some amazing pictures. I've never seen such beautiful graffiti in my entire life. We had a nice talk with a homeless man who lived in the tunnel before the cleanup, and still lives there. He said, "All I want to do is drink beer and smoke weed... that's all... I don't know why they can't leave me alone." The scariest part was the trains going by. They're so loud! Also the fear of being in the complete dark with no quick escape route right beneath Harlem. I loved the Goya painting imitation. In the same area is a makeshift chandelier and a bunch of cinder blocks.. like it was a living room. Climbing out of the exit was so hard. I felt like I was being born hahaha. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.
Peter: 8th Jul 2008 - 12:52 GMT
hmm. i thought the trains were pretty quiet. bordering on silent, actually. you dont even hear them until theyre speeding towards you, about 50 feet away...
Robert: 9th Jul 2008 - 02:40 GMT
Lets us all remember that while there are trains rolling though the tunnel at 70 miles or so. The really good thing about that entire tunnel is there is no 700 volt Third Rail to worry about when it gets dark everything that runs down there is all diesel. And there's plenty of wall clearance since there used to be five tracks down there, Just bring a flash light and make sure the trains don't see you.
design_e: 11th Jul 2008 - 01:44 GMT
Often when I stumble, I skim through stuff, but this held onto to me and looked through it all. Thanks for capturing that important bit of American NYC history. ;)
stan: 11th Jul 2008 - 09:42 GMT
I live around 116th street. A year ago I found a way in (and while down their noticed a few ways out.) I went down with a friend, a lighter, and two cellphones (which we used as a make-shift lamp.) From what I could see, which was very little, there were some amazing pieces. many you could see online but there are a lot of interesting things laying around the tunnel. ANCIENT cans to name one of the things. We didn't bump in to any left over shanty dwellers but at one point we heard a faint cry; a females voice. We figured it was one of the homeless who sometimes live around the downstairs portion of riverside park which is now closed off. (This portion of the park offers a view through a gate of freedom tunnel, which may have been how we heard her.) Afterwards we also heard a cough coming directly from behind us. We shined our lights towards it and saw a man sleeping on one of the raised platforms. He was with his girlfriend. We spoke with him briefly and asked a bit about the tunnel. he said every few days or so people would come down. Sometimes couples. He also said he wouldn't go past a certain point in the tunnel (farther south) as it was dangerous. it was a very interesting experience.
Paul Revere: 15th Jul 2008 - 00:33 GMT
I'm sure you can never receive enough accolades for your photography. Great work. Personally, I've roamed those tunnels repeatedly for the past year. As someone remarked you can't hear the train untill it's prcaticly upon you, but there is so much clearance that there is really nothing to worry about. There was never a problem for the numerous excursions from 39th to 125th at all different times. There is a few "homeless" people that for the most part are pretty harmless. I can imagine the frustration of those that do call the Freedom Tunnel home constantly avoiding contact with the numerous Flickr photographer affectionados. So much so that Amtrak should just charge an entrance fee. As for the artist that love the peacefull sanctuary (or what little is left) and the urban explorers that stroll through for the genuine love of their game. I would imagine the convictions of a true artist is the adventure and experience of the moment. Moving on I have to say the underground of all mediums is where true art is spurned. Again....great shots.
Edward LAMB: 15th Jul 2008 - 05:49 GMT
I am very familiar with this tunnel having personally "discovered" the place way back in 1969...
I had, one day, roaming through Riverside Drive Park, somewhere down near 92nd Street, discovered a dark, cool railway tunnel which ran right underneath the length of the park almost like a subway train ; a place the existence of which, I'm sure, very few native New Yorkers even suspected. I entered the tunnel through a ventilation grill which had been vandalised allowing me to slip through a small opening between the bent iron bars ; inside, a cavernous orifice led to a small concrete ledge overlooking the tunnel and the tracks below. The underground edifice was eerily lit by shafts of daylight that filtered through holes pierced in the high ceiling producing a strange, almost cathedral-like effect. In reality, seen from above, those openings - which also provided a precious little fresh air - took the ordinary appearance of heavy iron sidewalk grates that most everyone walked upon without ever giving them any notice.
I would sometimes climb into that secret crypt just to be alone and invisible, sitting with my legs dangling over the ledge, unseen, watching the trains go by ; long, endless freight trains pulling boxcars, flatcars, gondolas or hoppers, refrigerator cars, and even stock cars and usually tailed by a red caboose… .
Now, my decision was made. For the first time, I let myself fall from my cement balcony, sliding along the wall, blackened by the soot, and landing, more or less on my feet. It was a strange, exciting, new sensation being right down there beside the tracks. I hid myself in a dark cavity in the wall, waiting for the next train to pass.
"Running scared : Memories of a young fugitive...", by Edward Ashley LAMB
Todger: 16th Jul 2008 - 17:02 GMT
I wonder if "rouge mathematicians" perform calculations using the red numbers that are often found on calendars ...? :-)
Silo: 20th Jul 2008 - 07:18 GMT
Hey stan when the guy was talking about it being dangerous at a certain point did he describe anything?
Also did he mean south from 116th street? im thinking about going down there and i dont wanna end up a missing persons lol
BILROCK 161: 21st Jul 2008 - 21:18 GMT
FREEDOM is a big fake. He was a toy who never paid his dues(what?, 10 pieces, maybe?), never got up, got his ass beat at NOGA, and hung out with other toys(eg. AW.). His perpetration into the annals of graf history is only now being scrutinized. FREEDOM aka.Chris Pape is also persona-non-grata with SA., RTW., and TR. He perped being an SA. member and sold unauthorized SA. swag. He didnt even give any of the bank to ALI's dieing mother. Yeah!, come back on this stuff FREEDOM??!!!!!
New Jack Hater: 22nd Jul 2008 - 00:39 GMT
But Bilrock, everyone knows who he is and has seen his stuff. Which is the exact opposite of you, which makes you a HATER.
Hate, hate, hate. Thats all you do on here. None of us have seen any of your stuff, and probably few (if any) would want to, assuming a single piece of your stuff is up anywhere (again, Pape's got you beat there, too). Apparently, over 100,000 people have seen and appreciated this post, not to count other websites and the cats who have gone down into the tunnel to see it for themselves, which is once again far higher than any number you can boast.
Nobody likes a hater, son, so don't be one. Just bud out and don't start some ego battle here. No one wants to see you whine in public.
BILROCK 161: 23rd Jul 2008 - 17:27 GMT
new-jack hater!!, the punk-bitch is back!!!. Man you are a sucker-assed toy if you think FREEDOM is someone. The joke is on you toyboy!!!. This proves that you are no one and know nothing about the real history of graf. Your words are pathetic. I quit writing probably before you were even born, I dont expect you to have seen my stuff. Like I told you before, I wrote with some of the best, TKID-170, MIN-ONE, QUIK, IZ, KEL, SHY-147, etc.,anyone and everyone that matters knows me. And who are you anyway?? you toy-assed coward. Ask ZEPHYR about FREEDOM, ask MIN about FREEDOM?, ask any oldskool writer and they will tell you the truth. Who the f___ are you anyway?!. I am a lover not a hater, I am interested in truth not perpetrations. However I think I actually do hate your cowardly racist toy-ass. Deal with it, I am back and I will enlighten some of the ignorant so deal with it.
Robert Taylor: 28th Jul 2008 - 22:46 GMT
BILROCK you are a hater, don't be upset because you didn't bomb hard enough to get your name out.. either that or no one had enough respect for you to leave your shit up.
Robert Taylor: 28th Jul 2008 - 22:53 GMT
How can you call someone a toy when you said
BILROCK 161: 30th Jul 2008 - 22:01 GMT
Robert Taylor/New Jack whatever your name is, Every writer started writing cause of their peers, be for real fool. I guess it matters not to you that any oldskool writer from the time will clearly say the same about Chris Pape. It means nothing that he lied about being a member of the Soul Artists(SA.)after ALI died??!!. Then sold SA. t-shirts and didnt give a dime to ALI's mother who was at the time dieing of cancer??!!. What is wrong with you?. I know....you are a nobody/nothing racist bitch, what do you possibly know about graf history. I was there-where were you?. So go ahead and suck FREEDOM's limp twizel stick, you are the clown here. Whats that.....ohh I can hear the world laughing at you. By the way, the only hater bloggin I have ever done is for you my lil racist toyboy. I have an idea?, go get Chris Pape and the both of you come see me at the RTW show coming this winter/2009 to NYC. The place and time will be announced. Then you can try to run your ignorant end game on me in person???????
Kenneth: 31st Jul 2008 - 13:35 GMT
Dear me, Bilrock. You would appear to have some anger management issues. Such profoundly bellicose sentiments suggest little more than a deep-seated resentment and apoplexy. Try counting to 10 before your next posting.
firstname.lastname@example.org: 31st Jul 2008 - 17:37 GMT
Beautiful stuff...I just added "Dark Days" to my Netflix queue.
Leah Q: 31st Jul 2008 - 20:44 GMT
I have been through this tunnel yet only on a moving train... nice photos too! I love the different artists and their work - so sad so much is forgotten, yet you revive it all right here....thanks for sharing!
Movie Place: 7th Aug 2008 - 21:17 GMT
I vividly remember the yard south of 72nd Street. I remeber standing on top of a ventalation opening (all those grates that give the tunnel it's beautiful lighting effects) watching the fan on top of an engine turn. I counted cars as they moved by (Sesame Street for my generation). There was an exit at 101rst in the playground that is now a soccer field. We were always warned not to go down the stair as it was incredibly dangerous. Depending on who was giving the warning we would either be electricuted or run over by the trains. Everybody knew somebody who had a cousin that got his legs cut off by a train. Were where all these legless kids?
The tunnel's last frieght train was 2 box cars of frozen turkeys in 1980. The tunnel covers tracks that have been in pretty much the same spot since the mid 19th century. At one point they also served passengers as well as frieght.
Before I forget, THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE.
Man, I used to have some nice pieces up in there....: 11th Aug 2008 - 14:16 GMT
Man, Back in the early 90s... I used to have some nice pieces up in there.... XerxesOne, Central Park Posse (CPP)... )Sigh( No respect given to Freedom's art, from what I can see... Used to be almost gallery-like in there. These photos don't even cover 10% of what's down there.
Dam, was it the late 80's too...?: 11th Aug 2008 - 14:24 GMT
Shit, I guess late 80's too, my crew laid the base wall paint down for a lot of the pieces under the light shafts north of Freedom's pieces... So, my old works are probably under a few layers of new work... but hey... if you peel it back, we were still the first layer :)
Maz, Netherne: 25th Aug 2008 - 00:24 GMT
Aimee Hannon: 2nd Sep 2008 - 21:00 GMT
Just wanted to say the pictures are brilliant. So interesting and mysterious. Are there any pictures of the shanty towns that used to be there?
stalzz: 18th Sep 2008 - 06:55 GMT
The six shafts of light is one of the best you posted here. Bravo!
The Public Animals - Street Level Nine: 7th Oct 2008 - 02:52 GMT
This was one of the most inspiring and graffiti-Décollage rich sites I have ever visited in my life. As a young member and founder of The Public Animals, I used to wander in here early Sunday mornings just to find a quiet place in the busy city of New York, away from the noise.
It is a museum/gallery of sorts, both inspirational and awe-inspiring, a photographers and chronologists dream. I wish I had my old set of master-lock keys so I could open all the "mystery" doors for the blogger. Thanks for a great memory!
Charles: 19th Oct 2008 - 01:13 GMT
I used to hang out in the tunnel back in 79 and again in the early 80's when the conrail had the frieght trains running and that was the best time back then. Too bad I was only 13 years
CobraaaB: 31st Oct 2008 - 19:34 GMT
What a fantastic looking place. I want to go play guitar in there.
Michelle: 2nd Nov 2008 - 23:33 GMT
Great pictures - one of the most interesting posts I've seen on Citynoise.
Taylor James: 8th Nov 2008 - 04:58 GMT
Hi, I'm a big fan of Freedoms work. I recently made a Facebook page dedicated to him and his work. I'm not really sure of the rules of using photos and posting links, but this is definately (sp) a site I think people should see.... With your permission i would like to direct other fans here...
Rich: 14th Nov 2008 - 00:56 GMT
Once again you've really done some fantastic work. I really like the picture with the six rays of sun, the contrast is perfect. Thank you for taking me and others to a place we would have never seen, or have the guts to explore.
Boiler ATB GMC: 25th Nov 2008 - 03:59 GMT
Ive been here. I know of some other spots similar. Dope post. SaneSmith still running strong. And West Coast King Twist.
sisnina: 19th Dec 2008 - 20:56 GMT
This is awesome, I've heard stories of such things, like kids in the area like to go and bomb, but never really paid attention to it....they did this in the early 90's. I was wondering do go there? to tag and stuff, or are all the entries and exits closed off?
Rai Ai: 24th Jan 2009 - 06:57 GMT
Did Twist also paint in SF CA? I remember seeing a series of paintings in the tunnel between downtown and the west, on one of the MUNI lines (N I think) where there is a whole series of heads in teh style of the one by Twist above, there must have been about thirty of them, and when the train was going really fast, it was like a flip book, where the succession of them made a moving picture. There was other amazing work in that tunnel: I used to put my hands on either side of my face and press them to the glass so that I could see the work without reflection. I'd love it when the train would occasionally get stuck and I could get a better look, or catch a whiff of that dry musty smell that tunnels have...I love that smell. I always felt whoever did that must have been really bold, the tunnel is really tight, and you could only paint in there by going in there at night, which would be highly risky in and of itself, I'm sure.
Peter: 24th Jan 2009 - 07:14 GMT
Rai Ai: 25th Jan 2009 - 15:05 GMT
Thx, if ie only looked at the link, right? so it was a case of vice versa, coast wise.
Peter: 23rd Feb 2009 - 06:15 GMT
in that 5th photo, the place to avoid oncoming trains... i avoided an oncoming train in there today, haha.
BILROCK 161: 26th Feb 2009 - 21:32 GMT
Taylor James...keep chompin on that Chris Pape twizzelstick!!!HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
charles: 8th Mar 2009 - 02:51 GMT
Thanks for the pictures, It brings back memeries when I used to go down there as a kid, Hey who needs to go down there today when you can view all the pics online. Be careful when you do go down there if you do the last time I was down there the Amtrak police chased me out and one of them had his gun drawn to make sure no one else was there with me. This was at the 116th street exit which is now all locked.
Peter: 8th Mar 2009 - 03:00 GMT
to all that have been down there:
tell us your stories to go along with our photos!
53V3K/ARDKREW: 13th Apr 2009 - 20:41 GMT
THIS PLACE IS AN LEGENDARY STOMPING GROUND FOR MORDERN GRAFF WHICH IS (BELIVE IT OR NOT)A DYING FORM OF ART BUT IM GLAD THAT IM NOT THE ONLY ONE KEEPING IT ALIVE...... WELL ILL KEEP DA SHIT CRACKIN IN 50-CAL W35TCOASTAND YALL KEEP IT CRACKIN IN HARLEM, DA EASTCOA5T.... P3AC3 OUT ONE LOVE
Maaaaatt: 8th May 2009 - 04:06 GMT
on May 6, 2009 me and 4 of my boys went bombing in there it was my first time so i was hype it beautiful down there and scary lol
PRO - Partner at large: 15th Jun 2009 - 23:35 GMT
Freedom you phony looser your card is pulled again toy. aha - Wild Style!
Lindsey12345678910: 18th Jul 2009 - 17:13 GMT
I think the tunnel is so cool. Why do no trains go in there anymore? I wonder that very much!
em dub: 25th Sep 2009 - 05:39 GMT
been down there a couple times...totally awesome. Anyone wanna go again?!
jason: 28th Sep 2009 - 15:52 GMT
if any one is interested there is a doco made on this called dark days if you look on you tube you will find
Anonymous: 13th Oct 2009 - 17:07 GMT
I used to do some runs here in the early to mid 90's. I've been looking to starting back up with some urban exploring, and decided to look back at this place. I mentioned it to a friend the other day, and they asked "Isn't it impossible to get into the freedom tunnels with all the security post 9/11?" Apparently, they thought the freedom tunnels referred to a space under the trade center. Man, my life has changed...
Peter: 13th Oct 2009 - 20:40 GMT
still, the freedom tunnel is a much different beast than it was in the 90s. theyve locked all the park-access gates, deceptively silent amtrak trains slice through at murderous speeds rather frequently and nobody lives in there anymore (at least visibly). oh, and the third track on the west side of the tunnel has been removed and a few of the key graf pieces in the mural section have been ragged in the intervening years...
Ben Spin: 23rd Oct 2009 - 02:38 GMT
Dude these shots are awesome. me and my friend went down here few days ago, but we used a different entrance. i gotta get down here with my camera sometime. awesome shots dude, really.
a few questions:
Peter: 23rd Oct 2009 - 13:29 GMT
theres plenty of room to duck away form the speeding trains. the problem with the trains is actually paying attention to them and seeing them coming. with no whistles, horns or bells down there, they move FAST and very, very quietly... like, if youre really focused on your graf (or photography or whatever youre doing down there), its surprisingly simple to not even notice the trains at all until you look up and see one bearing down on you less than 50 meters away. i dodge them mostly to avoid being seen and heating up the spot more than i do for safety reasons.
much of the middle nad upper parts of the FT get a fair amount of natural light form the shafts/portals into riverside park, but this depends on what part of the day/season you go. parts in between are quite dark... light enough to walk the tracks, but if you want to explore or see anything, a flashlight is a must.
also: show respect to anyone you pass or run into down there. odds are theyve been in there much longer than you and have fewer options than you.
clif eddens: 30th Oct 2009 - 03:05 GMT
they painted over the WHOLE entrance wall by 125th street as well as the miles and miles worth of train tracks leading up to it.
mask: 3rd Nov 2009 - 17:14 GMT
clif eddens: 7th Nov 2009 - 23:37 GMT
yoooooooo, the whole section they painted over has been bombed the fuck out of. The WHOLE 125th street entrance got hit CRAZY like, maybe a couple weeks ago. not just the entrance but the tracks and buildings leading up to it. Like, hit so much, its amazing how much has been replaced in just a short period of time!
blessoner~nation of creation~: 11th Nov 2009 - 19:28 GMT
ITS AMAZING HOW GOOD THESE SHOTS ARE! I CANT BELIVE IT. I'VE BEEN INVITED RECENTLY TO GO TO THIS TUNNEL! WOW I CANNOT BELIVE ITS SUCH A PLACE OF BEAUTY! IF THERE IS ANYMORE INFORMATION ON THIS MARVELOUS PLACE PLEASE POST UP!!
Luggagemonkeys: 11th Nov 2009 - 22:41 GMT
Gorgeous pictures. The third-from-last shot looks almost exactly like the shot used on the cover of The Mole People by Jennifer Toth. http://talkingbooks.nypl.org/uploadedImages/Books/Mole%20People.jpg
JimmyJohnson: 9th Dec 2009 - 06:01 GMT
Just wanna say many thanks to the author for posting these - Some of the pieces are truly artwork, and the whole atmosphere down there in the tunnel makes it a special experience. Wish motherfucking Amtrak wasn't running trains, but I guess that adds to the excitement - although there's plenty of space and time to hear them coming, as long as you are paying attention.
K3ViN: 27th Dec 2009 - 00:21 GMT
Does anyone know any of the park entrances? The 125th entrance is pretty easy to find and I know the park pretty well but haven't seen anything leading into the tunnel in the middle around 103rd. I assume that they are all closed now?
person: 24th Jan 2010 - 03:44 GMT
amazing pictures!!!!! why do you have to dodge the trains what will they do to you. like will they report you or will they just go flying past?
drone.one: 29th Jan 2010 - 16:22 GMT
this all looks incredible. thanks so much for posting this peter. im flying over that way in the middle of the year and will definitely try and check this out when i do.
Lumicite: 31st Jan 2010 - 23:31 GMT
I just watched Dark Days, a must for anyone who is really interested in the homeless people that lived in this tunnel. That documentary brought me here, these photos are incredible, especially the six shafts of light. I will be showing the documentary to my high school students and these photos will enhance the lesson greatly. Thanks so much.
Phuq: 23rd Feb 2010 - 07:48 GMT
Last time I was down there, there seemed to be brand new signs put up informing explorers that they're trespassing and would be prosecuted if caught. Does anyone have anything to say about this?
Shepperd: 28th Feb 2010 - 04:17 GMT
I think some friends and I might visit this place and explore a bit. Any precautions we should take. We don't really plan on going in too deep, but far enough to have some fun. Also, what are the chances there will be others down there too?
Sergio Thevenot: 24th Mar 2010 - 18:21 GMT
I used to go with my friends to Riverside park and fishing on the piers. We went into the tunnel one day after a homeless guy hollered at us not to go in there. Ignoring him we went in, no flashlight full of gusto like we were brave. Needless to say after 10 minutes of walking through trash rats and almost pitch black one of us had to pee. I dared him to take a crap and he dropped his pants letting out a loud fart. Some one hollered hay what the hell are you doing? Scared out of our wits I just grabbed my homie and ran like the wind. I heard my buddy yelling wait let me fix my pants! I said fuck that shit we aint gettin caught and killed down here and kept dragging him since I had longer legs and ran faster. Not to mention his mom hollering at me if I left him in that tunnel. I kept running till I saw the water of the Hudson. He fixed his pants and we started laughing. We were 12 years old and I laugh my ass off till this day. I am 42 now and miss the tunnels.
email@example.com: 5th Apr 2010 - 03:06 GMT
Theres a homeless man at the 126th st entrance. We call him the gatekeeper. He uses a ladder to get up to his ledge. I just waved to him and he waved back. Most of the homeless have taken up residency near 73rd street and 83rd street. We walked the whole tunnel a few days ago.
SUM GUY: 11th Apr 2010 - 06:41 GMT
Is that the tunnel where the warriors we're walking through in the movie???
CpS: 9th Jun 2010 - 03:59 GMT
Anyone been or tried to get there recently? I'm going city exploring next week...want to know how heavily guarded and where the north entrance is exactly
Paul: 27th Jul 2010 - 03:09 GMT
Hey Peter - I'm a filmmaker, wanted to ask you a few questions about the photos, do you have an email address we could chat at? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith: 25th Aug 2010 - 07:30 GMT
I walked the length of the tunnel solo today, epic! So much good stuff down there.. all graffiti writers have to check it. The trains are easy to dodge..just hit the deck and try to not let the driver see you..only 3 passed me and i was down there for 2+ hours. Heaps of dope old Sace stuff. Also plenty of JA, Kuma, Trap, Dart, Gable, Utah, etc etc with sly Sane/Smith/Pink/Nov York bombings. A Massive Cost Revs stomper, must be 50+ metres long. It's dope to see the mid 90s burners still there..and most of Freedom's work is in good condition which was cool.
Aydiem: 26th Aug 2010 - 06:11 GMT
I've wanted to see that cost revs roller for so long...The freedom tunnel is a great experience.
guetrone : 15th Sep 2010 - 00:36 GMT
Daaaamn people I'm like speachless right now ! And after knowing that I'd be hard to get down there I just dream how it would be to be down there I bet every 1 who bombs and loves graffiti is feening to find a way down there and get to see and explore the tunnel , f*ck ! Everyday I was I was born back in those days and risk everything to get up down there , such thing we do nowdays but is harder peace out and this article made my day , mad props
Jara: 5th Jan 2011 - 02:19 GMT
yo i have so many bombs down here. recently however the southern end just got buffed up so a lot of the tags are gone including mine
Brando J: 6th Mar 2011 - 15:06 GMT
Wonderin' bout headin down there soon. I know where to get in but hear people get caught all da time. Dis true? Wanna just check it out but no tlooking to get in shit. let me know. thakns
muchacho: 22nd Mar 2011 - 22:53 GMT
i was just wondering, if you do get caught what happens? like if there is a cop what will they do? also, if they see you should you run or let them come to you? sounds stupid but i just wanna make sure. thanks
crs86: 10th May 2011 - 23:26 GMT
r ppl still getting caught 4 going down in the tunnels.....n has ne 1 been in the tunnel under st. marys park in the bronx or walked those track....ne gd graff down there???? i take alot of graff pics so i m curios about these spots.....i walk the hell gate tracks after the bridge in the bx...lots of gd graff there an up north towards the cross bronx expressway
JD: 14th May 2011 - 17:10 GMT
Metro North trains do not use this tunnel. They run on the East Side of Manhattan and use the Park Avenue tunnel from GCT to 96th street. No room for graffiti there. Little clearence and too much train traffic.
Eddie: 19th Jun 2011 - 16:12 GMT
I don't know how current you still are on the freedom tunnel, but I have a question. How far does the Tunnel extend? I can easily see where it starts at around 122st on google earth near the Hudson River Greenway, but there doesn't seem to be any end visible, and I thought it was supposed to go all the way to Penn Station. I'm most interested about where the massive evictions were. I'm guessing it was somewhere near 72nd street, but it also could have been further south. And, am I wrong to think this is the same line that was made into the High Line south of Penn Station?
dounia b. giessen,germany.hessen: 15th Jan 2012 - 15:18 GMT
hi i find that the free dom tunnel is very intressting
Tammey. : 17th Jan 2012 - 13:41 GMT
@ the posts over my own: Dounia, the reality is: You dont have friends... :D
me: 12th Feb 2012 - 20:05 GMT
Is it safe to go there during the daytime, I would love to go down there and take some shots, is it dangerous to go by yourself, will cops arrest you if you are found down there, are stil a lor of peopel living down there? I think it's fascinating, lived in NYC and done most ogf the things i wanted til I heard about the tunnels,now I feel like it's on my must do list, fascinating stuff and have a compelling urge to go down there
Dounia Berazek: 25th Feb 2012 - 18:33 GMT
no its very dangerous, the homeless people will eat you.........
brooklynbomberjab: 16th Mar 2012 - 20:54 GMT
thank you for showing the beautiful side to ny im a bk native and we only get noticed for a gravy and the way we talk ty for showing light on our beautiful city
smomneleporry: 27th Mar 2012 - 00:25 GMT
If there's an offensive coordinator for any offense, a defensive coordinator for the defense. A QB coach, a line backer guru, a running back private coach, and line coach, and a special squads coach, what does the scalp coach really do at any rate? Sometimes I see some headcoach that doesnt perhaps wear a head fixed. It varies from crew to team. In most cases, the head coach favors one side of the dre beats cheap ball. I know with that Saints, the head coach Sean Payton is definitely offensive guru, so he calls this plays, not the offensive sponsor. In that case the coordinator is in charge of player packages and keeping a line of communication over with this QB. Kind of a middleman regarding sorts. On other teams the Christian Louboutin coordinators have more expert and call the represents. If a coach can be more offensive oriented, he will usually allow the defensive coodinator call the plays. I don't know regarding any coaches that call both offensive and protecting plays. A head coach should manage 53 players, most of whom include egos to varying levels. There's no way he could do that all on his unique Belstaff jacket outlet. Coordinators and position coaches is there for him to delegate responsiblities to be able to. Coaching an NFL team is the same as running a multi-million greenback company, billion-dollar company in the case of the Dallas Cowboys. That's a lot of pressure and it takes a special sort of person to work and succeed under those situations. He has to show style everything. The other coaches give him the knowledge and he helps your QB call the takes on. just like you need a president of any company, you need a head coach to hold the other coaches ready and in line. plus they help to have a great relationship with the QB that makes it easier for the QB to create better plays and options. The head coach can be of things depending around the organization. Some head coaches can also be general managers. Some make personnel options. Some just coach, make game plans, and manage the additional asst. coaches.
john t: 3rd Jun 2012 - 02:34 GMT
i am going down there on monday if anyone wants to go. meet at playground entrance at noon. 83rd street and riverside.
marc: 15th Jul 2012 - 06:59 GMT
its good times. this vid shows something similar to my experience there. https://vimeo.com/45775611
Elliot P: 25th Oct 2012 - 15:36 GMT
I'm actually thinking of going back to the tunnel later on this winter if the sun is out. If anyone would like to come with me e-mail me at email@example.com
Survivor: 5th Dec 2012 - 11:17 GMT
Peter: May I ask: "What type camera and lens did you use?"
Indeed you are quite talented yourself as a photographer...to not only bring to a second life the artist work...but in contributing to its longevity. (Not that the art isn't posthumous in itself)
Beauty is a matter of perception though- ' to the homeless ' the graffiti art only represented
' To the homeless ' this was a place mainly to stay dry from the rain! (To the crack heads a place to reload.) The stench of the tracks and with rats as big as cats I can assure you the life of the dwellers bore no beauty.
I wish, if people weren't able to offer personal assistance to the people succumbed to this despair that they would at least curb their enthusiasm from acting as though they would buy a ticket to view this desolation !,.. no matter how beautiful or profound they may view the tunnels to be and respectfully, leave these people and their only respite alone.
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