by Lela Scott MacNeil
December 11th, 2010

We regretfully announce that late this evening we received a phone call from Battalion Chief Martorana of the New York Fire Department telling us that they were insisting we cancel this weekend’s events in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. We have no choice but to comply with their request, so the two programs that we had planned for Saturday and Sunday afternoon will not be happening.

The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association has been running tours in the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel for years, and Rooftop had even assisted with a screening very similar to the one we had planned to hold this weekend back in August. None of the BHRA tours had been canceled previously, and  many thousands of people had attended various events in the tunnels, and as far as we understood there had been no incidents or conflicts with city agencies regarding these events. The event that we had planned was on the same scale as the tours, and we had been reassured that there would be no problems with city agencies so long as we were to stick to the safety parameters of the dozens of previous events.

Unfortunately, the FDNY has informed us that at this time they do not feel that it is not safe for any number of people to have access to the tunnel.

This came as a complete surprise to us, as we had every reason to believe the events were entirely legal and sanctioned. We can’t speak to exactly why the Fire Department has changed their policy on the tunnel at this time, however, we respect any decision made in the name of safety.

While we believe that the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel is a valuable and historic New York City landmark, we also have a strong commitment to safety, and hope that arrangements can be made to reopen the Tunnel safely and legally so that it can again be enjoyed by all New Yorkers and visitors.

We will of course be refunding all Rooftop Tunnel show ticket purchases, and will also be giving all ticket buyers four (4) free 2011 Summer Series tickets. In addition, we invite anyone who purchased a ticket to the Tunnel shows to join us at 4:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Last Exit Bar and Lounge (136 Atlantic Ave) for a party and screening sponsored by Sailor Jerry Rum.

If you have any questions, please call 718.417.7362 or email

Rooftop Films strives to enliven the city by bringing audiences to new, exciting spaces. We want to enable people to interact with the city around them by watching films in unusual places. Our events are always safe and legal, but there is always a risk that when you do something new, problems will arise. We will continue to create unique screenings in daring locations, and hope that our audience will continue to appreciate our efforts and our successful events.


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About Rooftop Films

Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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