All images by Aaron Asis
Our undying fascination with decrepit spaces and once abandoned sites has been fueled once again. Untapped Cities contributor and artist Aaron Asis recently sent us stunning photos of the Freedom Tunnel that he collected from several independent passages — take a look at the remnants of the site that still remain:
Over the past few decades, the Freedom Tunnel has been a popular space for thousands of squatters and creative artists. Located under Riverside Park, it was built in the 1930s as an Amtrak railroad, and was used for freight trains until 1980, when its regular operations came to an end. After falling into disuse, it was taken over by street artists and christened “The Freedom Tunnel” after Chris ‘Freedom’ Pape, who was the tunnel’s most prolific artist. At its height, almost 100 people lived there, while Pape painted vast artworks — from Goya’s The Third of May, Michelangelo’s David, and Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory — around them.
By 1991, the tunnel was reopened for Amtrak, which led to the mass eviction of the homeless people who came to occupy the site, and the destruction of the shanty towns they erected. Today, it’s considered trespassing to wander around the tracks, but that obviously doesn’t stop the occasional graffiti artist from passing through.