Saturday, December 24, 2011


Chris Pape re-visiting the tunnel in 2011 (found out he's been there only a week before me, would be funny to bump into him)

can't believe I actually stepped my foot into this legendary place. If it wouldn't be for a few graffiti enthusiast I was hanging out with in NY, I'd probably never do it.

entrance to the tunnel

So in short, it was named the Freedom tunnel after a graffiti artist/painter Chris Pape tag "Freedom". The guy painted lots of good art in the tunnel for about ten years, between mid 80s to mid 90s and even lived with the homeless when they moved in there.
 There's still loads of his work left down there but some dickhead, most likely the Amtrak train authorities started painting over it.Go check it out while you still can!
You can read an interview with Pape here

It's a bit tricky to find and it's illegal to walk through which means you can't just walk in. The way to get in is : You get off a subway in Riverside park(can't remember the exact name of the stop)in Manhattan, walk along the rail until you find a hole in the ground. You get yourself in there and slide down a pile of crap that seemed to belong to homeless people.
and then, just like in some crazy movie, you enter this space, this underground "gallery", this massive space that holds an important part of graffiti history. There's some really famous shit from back in the 80s! but it's a shame, someone started painting over them so who knows how long for they're still gonna be there.
I was so hungover on the day we went there, which made the whole experience totaly ZEN. it takes about 45 blocks to walk the tunnel and it's right underneath the park. There's rays of light shining through the air windows above the tunnel which makes the place look so magic. It feels like being in some kind of vacuum.
So anyway, I knew about Freedom tunnel for ages. I just didn't know it was in NY or if it still exists. I've seen it in a documentary called Dark Days, which I absolutely loved so I'm totally chaffed I've seen it.

The tunnel looks very different nowadays than it did in the movie. There seems to be no people living there and it's all cleaned up. But still fucking brill.

out of the tunnel 
125 st Harlem

The tunnel ends on 125th street in Harlem. we were pretty much the only white people out there but I never minded that and neither did the others. we had some ace jerk fish at a little caribbean joint and then went to chill in the park. BLISS! yes please!

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