As we mentioned in our indispensable newsletter this week, Rooftop Films was taking their show underground for the weekend. Their "Trapped in the Tunnel" event was to take place in the Atlantic Avenue tunnel, and would have included a tour by Bob Diamond as well as screenings of short films... but the FDNY has just put an end to the fun. (Perhaps calling the event "Trapped in the Tunnel" sent up some red flags.) The Rooftop Films folk have released a statement, saying:
Unfortunately we must announce that late this evening we received a phone call from Battalion Chief Martorana of the New York Fire Department telling us that they were insisting that we cancel this weekend's events in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association has been running tours in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel for years, and Rooftop had even assisted with a screening very similar to the one we had planned to hold this weekend back in August. None of the BHRA tours had been cancelled previously, and many thousands of people had attended various events in the tunnels, and as far as we understood there had been no incidents or conflicts with city agencies regarding these events. The event that we had planned was on the same scale as the tours, and we had been reassured that there would be no problems with city agencies so long as we were to stick to the safety parameters of the dozens of previous events.
Unfortunately, the FDNY has informed us that at this time they do not feel that it is not safe for any number of people to have access to the tunnel. 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.
Find out more about refunds for this weekend here. We've contacted Bob Diamond to find out if there is a threat of the tunnel tours being canceled in the future, and if National Geographic will still be able to film this weekend (as Carroll Gardens Patch points out, they were scheduled to)—we'll update when we hear back. Recently Diamond has been trying to cut through the red tape and gain access to other parts of the historic tunnel that may house some hidden treasures.