Atlantic Ave. Tunnel Doubles as Movie Theater

Rooftop Films is going underground next month, as its Short Film Program will be screened in the famed Atlantic Avenue tunnel. The tunnel, whose entrance is located at the manhole cover on Atlantic and Court St., is part of the first subway system, built in 1844 and rediscovered by Flatbush resident Bob Diamond in 1979. Diamond now leads frequent tours through the tunnel, and on December 11-12 will be part of Rooftop Films’ Trapped In The Tunnel.

From Rooftop Films’ site:

Rooftop Films is best known for showing underground films outdoors, but in December we will be taking some of those films back where they belong: UNDERGROUND, into the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel in Cobble Hill. On December 11th and 12th, Rooftop will take two programs of short films from the dark underbelly of the independent film world and screen them deep inside the oldest subway on earth.

Prior to the screenings, urban spelunker Bob Diamond will be conducting a tour of the tunnel, and his recounting of the history of this historic treasure is not to be missed. So buy your tickets now and we’ll see you on the other side of the street.

Click here for information on the films and how to buy tickets.

(Photo courtesy Rooftop Films.)

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  • Arch Stanton

    Sounds like fun but it raises some safety concerns. Having a crowd of people in such a confined space with only one exit (which is up a ladder), is a potentially dangerous situation.

  • x

    Regular movie theaters are dirty enough, but sitting in an underground tunnel to watch a movie is very discomforting… there are rats and other unknown filth lying about in the dark

    no offense.

  • Andrew Porter

    When I was there several years ago I was concerned with the amount of air available. Surely people sitting in the bottom of a tunnel with inadequate ventilation is a tragedy waiting to happen.

    FWIW, I think the tunnel was so well sealed up when covered over that no rats ever penetrated it. And there’s nothing to eat there—until now!

  • Demonter

    A new meaning to underground cinema… I’m surprised no one has made a law against this yet.

  • Arch Stanton

    @ x Don’t kid yourself, there are plenty of rats in regular movie theaters. Rats go where there is food and as A.P. pointed out there is no food in the tunnel, However there is plenty of spilled food in theaters… Thank Ford for 50″ HD TVs and Netflix…

    @ Demonter, There are laws against it and if the Fire Department were to find out about the event it would probably be shut down.

  • my2cents

    Yeah I agree, this sounds like a fire trap!

  • TS McGee

    Maybe a terrorist plot to wipe out hipsters?

  • Lou K.

    Agreed on the ventilation concerns.

  • nabeguy

    I bet you they’ll inaugurate the series by screening “Breathless”

  • Peter Kaufman

    The tunnel was never part of the subway. It was for the LIRR.


  • Eddy de Lectron

    A train running underground is technically a subway so I think it is okay to call it the oldest “subway tunnel” even if it was part of the LIRR.

  • Peter Kaufman



  • Eddy de Lectron

    “Uh… no” uh… that would be your opinion…
    True the LIRR my not be a “subway system” on the whole. However, running a train below the street is the basic concept of a subway system, as opposed to a train tunnel running through a mountain. So one could say that was the first subway tunnel although, not part of the first subway system.

  • Matt

    To those raising safety/health concerns: to be fair, they had to apply for a permit to do this, with an application that had to be reviewed and approved before the permit was issued. Someone with a badge has already dismissed your fears.

  • georgia kral

    Wow the people leaving comments on this story certainly saw what was coming:

  • Heather Quinlan

    Interesting – thanks for the update!