5. The Cow Tunnels of New York City
In the late 1870’s about two million cows were being herded through the bustling streets of New York City. A rumored solution that still persists is a series of underground tunnels to transport cows from the dock to the slaughterhouse. While there are no sketches or pictures of these tunnels, Nicola Twiley from Edible Geography was able to find some evidence suggesting the existence of these cow tunnels.
In an archaeological documentary study in 2004, the transportation engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff identified the location of two cow tunnels in the Hudson Yards area. However, the source of their conclusion is the book, New York in the Nineteeth Century rather than new archaeological evidence.
While the office of Sanborn maps of New York City has no evidence of the tunnel’s existence, during the reconstruction of Route 9A (West Side Highway), there was a permit for a tunnel of such sorts at West 38th Street. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has no official record of the tunnel’s existence, however no archaeological work has been done either, leaving the existence of the tunnels a persisting mystery.