South end of tunnel
|Location||Manhattan, New York|
|Route||Northbound Park Avenue|
|Start||East 33rd Street (entrance ramp)|
East 34th Street (entrance portal)
|End||East 40th Street (exit ramp)|
East 39th Street (exit portal) (all traffic must continue to East 46th Street)
|Owner||New York City|
|Operator||New York City Department of Transportation|
|Traffic||Cars (formerly trains and street cars)|
|Length||5 blocks, approximately 0.25 miles (0.40 km)|
|No. of lanes||1|
|Operating speed||35 mph (56.33 km/h)|
|Tunnel clearance||8 feet 11 inches (2.72 m)|
|Width||16 feet (4.88 m)|
The Park Avenue Tunnel, also called the Murray Hill Tunnel, is a 1,600-foot-long (488 m) tunnel that passes under seven blocks of Park Avenue in Murray Hill, in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Traffic currently goes northbound from 33rd Street toward the Park Avenue Viaduct. The tunnel is under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Transportation, and carries one lane of northbound car traffic from East 33rd Street to East 40th Street; from 40th Street north, traffic must follow the Park Avenue Viaduct around Grand Central Terminal to 46th Street. The vertical clearance is 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m).
The tunnel once carried the New York and Harlem Railroad and later, that company's streetcar line. It was then called the Murray Hill Tunnel. The tunnel was originally built as an open rock cut, completed in 1837, after which the NY&H Railroad was opened as far as Yorkville, to 85th Street. In 1850, the cut was roofed over, using granite stringers from the original railroad bed south of 14th Street, thus creating the present tunnel.
Due to the construction of Grand Central Terminal and the removal of tracks, the north end was reconstructed for a steeper approach. Prior to August 3, 2008, the tunnel carried two-way traffic, one lane for each direction; on that date, it was reconfigured to increase safety for pedestrians crossing Park Avenue at 33rd Street.
In February 2017, the Park Avenue Tunnel was closed for a $24 million rehabilitation. It is expected to reopen in 2019.
In 2013, the tunnel was open to pedestrians for the first time in coordination with the annual Summer Streets event, which shuts down part of Park Avenue to vehicular traffic between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm for three Sundays every August. During the August 2013 event, the interior served as an art space containing Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's Voice Tunnel installation, in which visitors could record a short message that would be played back continuously from speakers along the tunnel walls. In the 2014 Summer Streets, the tunnel temporarily reopened to pedestrians, this time featuring DIVE, an installation by Jana Winderen that incorporates aquatic soundscapes. Both art projects were commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation.
Parts of the 1998 movie Godzilla were filmed in the tunnel. Toward the end of the film, Godzilla chases the film's main characters into the tunnel, but is later lured back into the open toward the neighboring Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is actually around 3 miles (4.8 km) from the tunnel.
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