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‘Lost tunnel’ makes a big splash online - New Bob Diamond video makes its debut

Instead of a damp, dark tunnel, urban explorer Bob Diamond can now be seen in more sterile environs: YouTube. A teaser trailer for a planned documentary about Diamond, the re-discoverer of the old Long Island Railroad tunnel under Atlantic Avenue, was recently posted on the site. The video, entitled, “What’s Behind the Wall” can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7h4ugetCcw. Trey Nelson, the Brooklyn-based filmmaker behind the trailer, said he and producer Jerry Kolber are now raising money to finance a feature length documentary about Diamond and the tunnel. “What is there about Bob that is not amazing?” Nelson wondered. “Unlike a lot of people, he has the ability to dream—and that’s the center of our story.” Nelson was first introduced to Diamond last summer on a tour of the tunnel, which was built in 1844—and sealed up in 1861. In 1980, Diamond, the founder and president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA), rediscovered the tunnel—which he says is the world’s oldest. “It was like you were off the earth and on the moon now,” he says on the film. Last summer, after a five-year break, he resumed leading tours of the half mile tunnel, located under Atlantic, between Hicks and Court Streets. While the film waits to get made, tunnel fans can tune into “Cities of the Underworld,” a History Channel program, which also recently filmed under Atlantic. The show is expected to air next month. “I am thrilled and delighted there is so much interest in the tunnel after all these years,” Diamond said. “The tunnel and story behind it are something that will appeal to people through the ages.” “The story of the tunnel is timeless,” he added. Diamond is convinced the world’s oldest locomotive is buried in the tunnel near Columbia Street. He aims to one day dig it up—and hopes to see the tunnel one day reactivated as well. For now, there are the tours, which continue to draw crowds. With each tour, Diamond said he still derives pleasure. “When I see their faces when they see the tunnel for the first time…it’s what keeps me doing it.” It takes him back nearly 30 years, when he too saw the tunnel for the first time. Another tour is scheduled for Sunday, March 23 at 1 p.m. For reservations or more information, call 718 941 3160. For more information about the BHRA, go to www.brooklynrail.net.

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