A BLDGBLOG post drew our attention today to The Hole: a neighborhood in Brooklyn that abuts the southern border of Queens. It sits at 30 feet below grade, which makes city sewage connections impossible (houses empty into cesspools). Roosters roam the green spaces, and some of the Federation of Black Cowboys keep their horses at a stable there. The verdant land also offers an attractively dense cover: The Hole is a notorious dumping ground for dead bodies.
It is a “lost” neighborhood of New York, according to some, while others claim it is a “border town” with its own vibrant culture.
Descriptions of The Hole seem as though plucked straight from a William Gibson novel. Manaugh writes that “cowboys on horseback wander through water-logged streets while abandoned housing developments soak up rain like giant sponges,” while the New York Times quotes resident Rufus Earle saying “there was a lot of wars down here. There a lot of places to hide. People did what they wanted to do.” Like mob bosses who needed a place to hide evidence: “An F.B.I. investigation has focused on a swampy, weed-strewn lot in the search for buried outlaws, in this case two Bonanno crime family capos, as well as an unfortunate neighbor of the late Gambino family boss John J. Gotti.” But The Hole also fosters its own culture, with men on horseback riding the streets and citizens farming the land.
A 2004 scheme, apparently abandoned, would have filed in the 30-foot difference between the Hole and neighboring land. According to photographer and blogger Nathan Kensinger, “Today, the neighborhood has been torn apart by failed development schemes. Besides the empty horse pastures and abandoned houses, the edges of the The Hole are dominated by two large, apparently abandoned real estate projects. At the western edge is a trash strewn, boarded-up row of new homes, and towering above the eastern edge of the neighborhood is a stalled development once named “Cobblestone Estates.”
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