The Legend of the West Side Cow Tunnel Lives On. Seriously.

04/13/2010 4:01 PM |

old time cow
  • Why you should never take the subway.

It’s been a legend for generations: a specially designed “cow tunnel” built in the 1870s to alleviate the incredibly busy livestock traffic around the old dockside slaughterhouses at Twelfth Avenue and 34th Street—at least according to historian Betty Fussell’s recent book, Raising Steaks. Well, as is often the case with wonderful stories like this (e.g. Heaven, universal health care, “butterflies”) no one has yet verified the existence of the cow tunnel (the attempts at which are meticulously documented at Edible Geography).

I however, will continue to imagine a dusty, oak-girded chamber where once walked the ancestors of today’s overpriced gastropub burgers, paragons of organic-before-there-was-organic beefhood slouching toward a dark, sanguinous destiny. In a tunnel. Beneath Manhattan.