The Sandhogs
April 18, 2015 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Eighty years ago, New York City needed another tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus began construction of the Lincoln Tunnel. But this is not a story about the Lincoln Tunnel. This is about the men who made it. The Sandhogs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (10 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Oh awesome. I haven't LTTFP but I love stuff like this, so thanks in advance of my long subway ride!
posted by nevercalm at 8:13 AM on April 18, 2015

That was really interesting. Thank you!
posted by harrietthespy at 8:20 AM on April 18, 2015

The problem of the bends was significant in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge as well. If you haven't read The Great Bridge yet, you really should.
posted by BWA at 8:23 AM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

(is there a transcript anywhere? i poked around on the page but didn't see anything)
posted by poffin boffin at 9:12 AM on April 18, 2015

No, there doesn't appear to be a transcript for that episode. There only seem to be transcripts for a few episodes. Try contacting them to see what the process is?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on April 18, 2015

Thanks! I sent this straight on to my father before I even finished listening to it all. He worked as an engineer in NYC back in the 50s. He used to tell me with admiration in his voice that of all the people on all the industrial sites he visited, the sandhogs were by far the toughest and the most courageous.
posted by fuzz at 9:50 AM on April 18, 2015

When I was a kid I was given a fiction anthology aimed at pre-teen boys. One story was about sandhogs. Apparently, a small hole might develop in the side of the wall, then get bigger and bigger until, if no one stopped it, the whole wall would collapse in a blowout and everyone in that section would die. Because of pressure, these holes would suck air out, so stuff was thrown at them until it would accumulate and stop the leak. The scene in the story was somewhat like in SF movies when the spaceship hull gives way.
Anyway, A few years back, Local 147 was robbed by the person administering relief funds. Some guys had to come out of retirement and go back to work in the tunnels. Here's the story (NYTimes link). Remembering the story I read as a kid, I thought six years was very light sentence.
posted by CCBC at 3:49 PM on April 18, 2015

Because of pressure, these holes would suck air out

And people!

Hey, Mister May-air!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:04 PM on April 18, 2015

The sandhog life is a significant part of the story in Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale."
posted by mmiddle at 5:15 AM on April 19, 2015

I wonder if those leaks inspired Heinlein's Gentlemen, Be Seated!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:09 AM on April 21, 2015

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