Secrets of New York: Season 6: Ep. 2 - Underground
New Yorkers have passed by a wide open space for 65 years riding the J train past Essex Street on the lower East side, wondering what that acre of underground space might have been. Kelly clears up the mystery by visiting New York City’s most futuristic park site, the Lowline. Planned for the old Essex Street Trolley Terminal, Kelly walks through a dark labyrinth worthy of Indiana Jones and talks to the folks who figured out how to channel sunlight from the street into a subway tunnel to grow plants and trees. In fact, some of the oldest tunnels underneath New York City predate the subways; they’re the tunnels that supplied 1840’s Manhattan with its first outside water supply. Kelly travels a forgotten pathway that goes from Westchester all the way to 42nd street, deep inside the Old Croton Aqueduct. Constructed by an army of Irish workmen, the Aqueduct was the engineering equivalent of today’s space missions, a tunnel 41 miles long, dropping exactly 13 inches for every mile into the city. The tunnels still exist under Manhattan today, including the New York Public Library and Central Park, where Kelly descends into a Victorian version of Mission Control.