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September 25, 2012 11:51 PM   Subscribe

"The Hole is a small triangle of land divided in half by Brooklyn and Queens, and is located west of the intersection of Linden and Conduit Boulevard. The Hole is literally a hole. It is "30 feet below grade," according to the NY Times, sunken down from the busy roads around it. The neighborhood floods often and is only a few feet above the water table, so its homes are "not incorporated into the city sewer system. They all have cesspools," according to the NY Times. Streets are threatened by reedy marshes, and many residents keep a boat parked in the driveway." It's also home to some stables used by the Federation of Black Cowboys. Brooklyn's Lost Neighborhood

A documentary(Vimeo).

Via Architizer and BLDGBLOG.
posted by the man of twists and turns (37 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting little neighborhood. Looks like it could use some gardens and TLC.
Maybe turn part of it into a wetlands...without the asphalt. Raise some fish for the
neighborhood. and all those dead bodies?, ....you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,
make a little deal with the mafia, I’m sure they are pretty reasonable guys...for a few bucks
in the community chest they can drop off a body now and then, and ...hey,
free fertilizer for the gardens.
Liked the song at the end of the documentary!
posted by quazichimp at 1:32 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is really amazing. I know this area but I really didn't know the details and definitely appreciate this post. (Although my computer seems to hate Vimeo).
posted by bquarters at 3:18 AM on September 26, 2012


Fascinating.

Rufus may be a great guy, but I could outdraw him in a gun fight.
posted by HuronBob at 3:32 AM on September 26, 2012


Fantastic post. Reminds me how much I liked the documentary Urban Explorers.
posted by priested at 4:17 AM on September 26, 2012


National park it!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:00 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Documentary teaser (youtube). Federation of Black Cowboys (Youtube)
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:15 AM on September 26, 2012


Dear Mr Kensinger: Nice pictures, but you really don't need to name all the individual photographs. It's actually sort of embarrassing when you do. Best wishes, aught.
posted by aught at 5:26 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Google Streetview pics appear to have been taken at sunrise, which makes the place look even creepier and atmospheric.
posted by Fnarf at 5:40 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. It's weirdly comforting to know that Breezy Point (where I spent my summers as kid) isn't the only community in NYC that still uses cesspools. And yeah, the undeveloped/ghost town atmosphere is reminiscent of playing at Fort Tilden as well (abandoned shore cannon installations on the ocean side! A German spy radio hut on the bay side! Bodydumps!) God, I loved it growing up there.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:16 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of this short story. (In a webzine I edit, blah blah full disclosure.)
posted by subdee at 6:46 AM on September 26, 2012


The Google Streetview pics appear to have been taken at sunrise, which makes the place look even creepier and atmospheric.

That's Zombie habitat for sure.
posted by incandissonance at 6:49 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Amazing that every city seems to have a place like this....but for some reason it seems especially shocking to see in New York.
posted by schmod at 7:06 AM on September 26, 2012


This is so not how I picture New York at all, even the bits that are not Manhattan. I find it weird that bits and bobs like this (and I think there is another one GRRM mentioned in his Rretrospective) in a mega-city New York.

The Black Cowboys thing is also really odd to me.


Is there a difference between a cesspool and a septic tank?
posted by Mezentian at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2012


Thanks to forgotten-ny.com's You'd Never Believe You're In New York City posts, I've come to realize that NYC has lots of strange nooks and crannies.
posted by afiler at 7:15 AM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dear Mr Kensinger: Nice pictures, but you really don't need to name all the individual photographs. It's actually sort of embarrassing when you do. Best wishes, aught.

Now that is a low threshold for embarrassment.
posted by yoink at 7:22 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey my friend Nate took those pics!
posted by rossmeissl at 7:25 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The filmmaker, referring to the bodies supposedly dumped by the Mafia: "the identities of those corpses remain a mystery, nor are they important."

Nice.
posted by scratch at 7:37 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating. The giant railyard at Sutter and Eldert is apparently still in service? The rails there emerge from underground beneath an overpass--is it for subway trains? Is it connected to whatever tunnel the Liberty Ave. metro line dives into after it jogs to the south, as it heads west from 80th? Because if so one would think there's significant excavation below the Hole already....
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:43 AM on September 26, 2012


Is there a difference between a cesspool and a septic tank?

A septic tank actually treats the waste ejected into the tank, breaking down and treating the waste. A cesspool is merely holds ejected waste, resulting in all too frequent visits by the "honey wagon." Growing up in Breezy Point, one had to be careful when walking though empty lots and yards, as older cesspools often had the unfortunate habit of collapsing.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:47 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


g-maps image of the Hole and surroundings, with the metro line and railyard around the upper and left edge, zoomed in image of the rail line and yard.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2012


that is: here, and here.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2012


I love New York.
posted by grobstein at 8:20 AM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looks like the rail spur may have been put in a cut & cover tunnel to eliminate a crossing at Conduit. You can see a trapezoidal building/lot near Grant & Pitkin and three oversized tenements at Glenmore/Eldert/Forbell where the surface right-of-way used to be.
posted by dhartung at 8:39 AM on September 26, 2012


"I mean, c'mon. This is the twentieth century!"
posted by klanawa at 10:36 AM on September 26, 2012


At first I thought this post was referring to Howard Beach. Now I have to ride out here, too.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:49 AM on September 26, 2012


From the L magazine article about the supposed Mob body disposals: "the identities of those corpses remain a mystery, nor are they important. "

What??
posted by sweetkid at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2012


The Hole was semi-immortalized in the story "The Hole in The Hole" by Terry Bisson (of "They're Made Out Of Meat" fame). It doesn't seem to be online, but it's worth tracking down.
posted by rodii at 11:49 AM on September 26, 2012


Wait.

Hold on.

Did Kessinger just invent the name "The Hole" when he wrote that blog post in 2009?

I'm now hesitant to call this a neighborhood... It seems more like a slice of land with bad drainage that got awkwardly boxed in by two arterial highways and a railroad, disconnecting it from the adjoining neighborhoods, and becoming a dumping ground as a side-effect. Basically, just another victim of Robert Moses' planning process...

I guess that narrative has a bit less mystique, but everything I read about this place seems really poorly-sourced (especially the part about being 30 feet below sea level. How does that just make it turn into a lake?)
posted by schmod at 12:09 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did Kessinger just invent the name "The Hole" when he wrote that blog post in 2009?

No, "The Hole in the Hole" was written in 1994 so it goes back at least that far.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:40 PM on September 26, 2012


Hi, just poking into this thread to tell everyone that I've figured out why different versions of the theme song from the wire have been getting stuck in my head all day.

I'm on the season 5 version right now. I hoping it gets back to season 1 next time I look at mefi...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:02 PM on September 26, 2012


One of the links says 10 feet, and that seems more believable.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:16 PM on September 26, 2012


Gotta admit this mostly-buried railroad switchyard is a head-scratcher.

Almost any large US town has an area like this ... so of course NYC has one in spades. And conveniently located near Bensonhurst!!
posted by Twang at 5:50 PM on September 26, 2012


Gotta admit this mostly-buried railroad switchyard is a head-scratcher.

OK, it's the Pitkin Yard:

The Pitkin Yard is located in East New York, Brooklyn. It holds the Pitkin Shops, which maintain the R46s used on the A train and Rockaway Park Shuttle.
Track connections from the yard connect both railroad north to Euclid Avenue and railroad south past Grant Avenue on the IND Fulton Street Line. This allows trains to be added or removed from service in either direction. 40°40′21″N 73°51′54″W


Railroad.net thread discussing the Yard.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:17 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the thread, a link to a story about an abandoned station associated with the yard.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:18 PM on September 26, 2012


The Underground Mysteries: 76th Street
Apparently, a well chewed-over topic amongst enthusiasts.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:25 PM on September 26, 2012


Finally, more on Pitkin Yard.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:30 PM on September 26, 2012


I find this completely fascinating, but it seems like the coverage that's linked to is a little short on human beings who live there (the neighborhood seems to be at least fairly well inhabited, yet most of the pics don't have people in them...which surprised me.) Does anyone know anything more about this area that's a little more anthropological?
posted by supercoollady at 12:25 PM on September 30, 2012


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