It's a question that, well, few of us have wondered: Is there a long forgotten tunnel that was built to transport cattle in the 1870s lurking below the Manhattan streets? Gizmodo has done a commendable amount of research in an effort to answer that very question, poring over MTA and Department of City Planning records, old newspaper articles, and digital map archives, and reaching out to various historical agencies. Our favorite bit of evidence that they turned up comes from a 1997 Tribeca Trib article in which the author recounts, second hand, a story he heard from a Con Ed inspector who was installing a drainage basin and stumbled into "an oak-vaulted tunnel ten feet wide by eight feet high that trailed off an undetermined distance in either direction. It was then that an old man from the neighborhood stepped up to the trench and said, 'Why, I see you found the cattle tunnel.'" That is the beginning of the weirdest (and possibly best) horror movie ever.
Anyway, you should read through all the research because sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, but (spoiler alert) the tunnel is real, as proven by blueprints courtesy of the archeological firm that co-authored the 2004 Hudson Yards/No. 7 Line study. The tunnel was built in 1932—later than was previously thought—underneath 12th Avenue at West 38th Street. And, while it may have caved in or be filled with rubble by now, it also might be intact, haunted by the ghosts of so many cows who were led through it to their slaughter. If you stand on the corner of 12th and 38th late at night you can still hear them mooing. Oh no, wait, that's just that creepy old guy.
· The Lost Cow Tunnels of New York City [Gizmodo]