The Secret Underground World Of New York City

Urban explorer Steve Duncan goes places nobody in their right mind would go, examining hidden infrastructure — the tunnels, subways, and sewers — of cities all over the world. Watch him reveal New York City's secret underground world.

Illustration for article titled The Secret Underground World Of New York City

Andrew Wonder's amazing video follows Duncan through some of his most recent adventures in New York City. To start with, Wonder and Duncan take a quick jaunt down the subway line to a "secret" subway station that's now become quite familiar to Jalopnik readers — the City Hall subway station.

Then, as if that weren't cool enough, the pair take us into the underground Canal Street sewer in Manhattan. The sewer is New York's first covered sewer after being roofed over in 1812 — previously, it was just an open ditch — a "canal" — and it's what gave Canal St. its name.

The Canal Street ditch was actually a stream and was apparently large enough that prior to European settlements, natives of the region could canoe (at least at high tide) from the Hudson River, along the stream, and into the Collect Pond (site of today's Columbus Park, it supplied the city's water until it became horribly polluted by the growing New York in the 18th Century), carrying deliveries of oysters that would be opened and dried for winter food.

Illustration for article titled The Secret Underground World Of New York City

Next up on Duncan and Wonder's urban spelunking is the old Amtrak tunnels next to the Lincoln Tunnel. Duncan shows off the jury-rigged ancient timber atop crumbling natural rock that's holding up New York City streets.

Last up, as police birds circle overhead, Duncan scales the Williamsburg Bridge to get an unbelievable look at the city of New York. It's amazing.


While you can safely travel the 6 train to see the old City Hall subway station, we definitely wouldn't suggest taking a run at any of these other locations unless you're traveling with someone experienced like Duncan. It's dangerous, illegal and potentially hazardous to your health.

Photo Credit: Steve Duncan

[via undercity, Vimeo, NPR, Watercourses]


Jonathan Harper

Awesome Ray, I love underground or abandoned or secret stuff like this.