The Lost Cow Tunnels of New York City

Have you heard the one about the cow tunnels underneath New York City? The story goes that railroads enabled a lot more beef to make its way to the city in the late 19th century, but the distance between the railroad stockyards in New Jersey and the slaughterhouses in New York caused problems. Herding cattle through a metropolitan area was difficult, blocked traffic, and left a mess. So they built a tunnel under the streets to move cattle. Or did they? The story now seems almost like an urban legend, as plenty of people had heard about them, but no one has seen the tunnels.

Nicola Twilley looked for documentary evidence that the tunnels actually existed, and found quite a bit. How accurate they are remains questionable, as most accounts were written long after the tunnels were replaced by livestock trucks. And the city’s underground has undergone many changes in the past century. As of today, no one knows exactly where the cattle tunnel was located, if there were more than one, where either the entrances or the exits were, or whether any part of the system still exists. You can see what we know (and what we’ve heard) at Gizmodo, in an article that’s worth clicking for the top picture alone. -via the Presurfer    


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