Joralemon Street Tunnel

The Joralemon Street Tunnel, originally called the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel,[3] carries the 4 and ​5 trains of the New York City Subway's IRT Lexington Avenue Line under the East River from Bowling Green Park (State Street) in Manhattan to Joralemon Street and Willow Place in Brooklyn, where the routes feed into the IRT Eastern Parkway Line. It was the first underwater subway tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, with construction taking place between 1903 and 1907.[4]

Joralemon Street Tunnel
Joralemon Street Tunnel postcard, 1913.jpg
1913 postcard illustrating the tunnel and City Hall station.
LineIRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 and ​5 trains)
LocationEast River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York
Coordinates40°41′49″N 74°00′26″W / 40.69694°N 74.00722°W / 40.69694; -74.00722Coordinates: 40°41′49″N 74°00′26″W / 40.69694°N 74.00722°W / 40.69694; -74.00722
SystemNew York City Subway
OpenedJanuary 9, 1908; 112 years ago (January 9, 1908)[1]
OperatorMetropolitan Transportation Authority
No. of tracks2
Joralemon Street Tunnel
ArchitectWilliam Barclay Parsons; Andrew McDonald, et al.
MPSNew York City Subway System MPS
NRHP reference No.06000015[2]
Added to NRHPFebruary 9, 2006


The tunnel was constructed using the shield method and consists of two parallel cast iron tubes 2,170 feet long.[5] Construction problems led to alignment issues, resulting in the reconstruction of large segments of the tunnel to ensure safe subway operations. A construction accident on March 28, 1905 in the pressurized tunnel led to a blowout which propelled a worker through the mud and 40 feet into the air.[6] The construction of the tunnel also saw the conversion of 58 Joralemon Street into a fan plant (a type of ventilation building) and emergency exit for the IRT subway system.[7] Clifford Milburn Holland served as the assistant engineer during the construction of the tunnel.[8] The first train ran through the Joralemon Street Tunnel to Brooklyn about 12:45 a.m. on January 9, 1908.[1]

The tunnel was the site of a derailment on March 17, 1984. The train had 1,500 passengers at the time, and the derailment occurred during the evening rush hour. The train was traveling over a section of track that was being repaired. No one was killed or seriously injured.[9]

The Joralemon Street Tunnel was one of seven East River subway tunnels flooded on October 29, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy's storm surge inundated Lower Manhattan. The Joralemon and Rutgers Street Tunnel were MTA's priority to drain and return to operations, as they carry some of the system's busiest routes.[10] The storm water was cleared from the tunnel two days afterward,[11][12] inspected and awaiting Con Edison electrical service to be restored.[13] Full-length subway service through the tunnel was restored early on November 3.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Brooklyn Joyful Over Its Tunnel". The New York Times. January 10, 1908. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ New York City Transit: A Memorandum Addressed to the Public Service Commission of the First District. City Club of New York. 1907. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Gasparini, D. A. (February 2006). "Battery-Joralemon Street Tunnel". Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities. American Society of Civil Engineers. 20 (1): 92–107. doi:10.1061/(asce)0887-3828(2006)20:1(92). Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  5. ^ Wills, Zachery. "The Tunnels of the East River". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "The Geyser Riders". Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  7. ^ John Freeman Gill (December 26, 2004). "A Puzzle Tucked Amid the Brownstones". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Aronson, Michael (June 15, 1999). "The Digger Clifford Holland". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 2, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Derailment of New York City Transit Authority Subway Train in the Joralemon Street Tunnel New York March 17, 1984. United States National Transportation Safety Board. 1985. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  10. ^ Donohue, Pete (November 2, 2012). "Repairing the New York subway system after Hurricane Sandy may be the MTA's biggest task yet". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  11. ^ Fermino, Jennifer (October 31, 2012). "Slog to work (if you're lucky)". New York Post. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  12. ^ Kabak, Benjamin (October 31, 2012). "Limited subway service to return to 14 lines tomorrow". 2nd Ave. Sagas. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  13. ^ Kabak, Benjamin (November 2, 2012). "Sandy Updates: Friday morning train service and news & notes". 2nd Ave. Sagas. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "MTA Photos". MTA. November 3, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2012.

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