ratpag Talks Tunnels and the American Dream…Shopping Mall

ratpag is going to cram two completely unrelated stories down your, the reader’s, throat because this is a free-to-view website and we can do whatever we want.  But we’ll try to connect them, somehow, but not too blatantly because we report – you decide.  We will then conclude with a completely unrelated article – we’ll call it a bonus article – linked somewhere around the bottom if you want to see some pretty picutres.

hudson yards tunnel

The first article simply makes note of a tunnel to nowhere – an “800-foot-long, 35-foot-deep concrete trench” being constructed on the west side of Manhattan.  Though leading to nowhere, for now, the tunnel “could someday lead to two new commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River to New Jersey.”  Why is it being built now – to nowhere?  Because the Hudson Yards project, with six massive skyscrapers, will soon be built atop it.

And why does any tunnel need to be built at all?  Aren’t the tunnels that are there now good enough?!  Not quite!  There are “250,000 people who use Penn Station every day to ride NJ Transit and Amtrak” and the two existing tunnels, opened in 1910 (or two years before the Titanic sank, four years before World War I began and, according to Wikipedia, six years before the light switch was invented.  The light switch!), are at capacity and they flooded during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which can’t be good.

“Maybe we should have a new tunnel built?”  Yes, ratpag agrees.  In fact, a new tunnel was going to be built – the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) Tunnel – but was killed in October 2010 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  You know, Governor Christie has done a lot of great things for transportation the last few years.  The Governor felt it best to cancel the tunnel project for fear of cost overruns and instead, after numerous costly lawsuits and lost time, decided to divert to state’s ARC funds into New Jersey’s transportation trust fund, which has likely been used to fill potholes.  But how so!

“But wouldn’t something like the ARC Tunnel have created jobs and reduced economic loss due to overcrowding and delays in the antiquated, existing tunnels?”  Perhaps.  But who needs that when you have the American Dream mega mall built in the Meadowlands instead!  Sure, the American Dream mega mall might need a $390 million grant, or “the largest business tax subsidy New Jersey has ever awarded,” from the Economic Development Authority.  Who cares!  This is the American Dream we’re talking about here.  This is what the founding fathers risked their lives for!


The American Dream mega mall has everything you’d ever want, including:

  • An indoor ski slope!  Because outdoor skiing is lame and cold.
  • An enclosed water park with surfing!  Because outdoor surfing is lame and hot.
  • View of Manhattan!  Because being in Manhattan is lame and crowded.
  • An NHL-sized skating rink!  Right next door to a former NHL arena.
  • Shopping influenced by SoHo!  Because real SoHo shopping is lame.
  • And it’s all conveniently located along I-95!  You can even get there in just 45 minutes from JFK (this is assuming you have a car to drive – especially since rail access is limited – even more so with no ARC tunnel – from New York).

We’re going to stop now because we’re just bitching at this point.  We suppose the public must really just want to ski, ice skate, see Manhattan from a distance, and shop before returning to JFK airport and wherever they’re from.  That does sound like a nice way to spend a Saturday.  So kudos on money well spent!

As a throwaway, here’s an interesting article about how the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was built, somehow, 50 years ago in Virginia of all places.  It’s a bit long but there are some nice pictures and short videos.  We’re happy, even if it’s used for cars, that this tunnel wasn’t thought to be too expensive or unreasonable a project to pursue.  Though we suppose the alternative would’ve been a nice, big mall.  That wouldn’t have been so bad, would it?


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One Response to ratpag Talks Tunnels and the American Dream…Shopping Mall

  1. Jeremy says:


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