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Tunnel tour to get new theatrical boost

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A fledging performance company is looking off Broadway—and beneath Atlantic Avenue—for its latest artistic excursion.

The company, LiveFeed, is planning to perform historical vignettes to accompany Bob Diamond’s wildly popular tours of the old Long Island Rail Road tunnel on Atlantic between Hicks and Court streets.

“We want to try to enhance what is already there,” said Aimee Davis, LiveFeed’s producing dramaturge.

Call it the Damp, Not-So- White Way.

The vignettes—which will premiere during the June 15 tour—will portray seminal moments in the history of the tunnel, which was built in 1844 as a route between New York Harbor and Boston. It was sealed up and abandoned in 1861.

Davis said the performances, which will be developed and refined over time, will bring the audience “into the entire concept of the tour.”

As a young engineering student, Diamond, the founder and president of the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association (BHRA), rediscovered the tunnel in 1980.

He was smitten after his first descent.

“My dreams for the tunnel are coming true,” Diamond said. “I am really thrilled that people are realizing the tunnel as a venue for all sorts of historical and theatrical activities.”

Diamond is the subject of a feature-length documentary about the tunnel, and the steam locomotive he believes is buried there.

A trailer for the film, which is awaiting financing, can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7h4ugetCcw.

Diamond is getting accustomed to the spotlight. His last tour attracted over 200 people, all standing in rapt attention, oblivious to the traffic rattling overhead.

He was recently featured on the History Channel program “Cities of the Underworld,” in an episode called “New York: Secret Societies.”

Diamond will lead his next public tour of the tunnel on Sunday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. Call 718 941 3160 for reservations and information. For more information about the BHRA, go to www.brooklynrail.net.

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