Queens Midtown Tunnel

The Queens–Midtown Tunnel (sometimes simply known as the Midtown Tunnel) is a highway tunnel and toll road in New York City. It crosses under the East River and connects the Borough of Queens (at the Long Island City terminus of I-495, the Long Island Expressway) on Long Island with the Borough of Manhattan (between the major crosstown thoroughfares of East 34th Street and East 42nd Street in the Midtown Manhattan area). Designed by Ole Singstad, it was opened to traffic on November 15, 1940. The tunnel consists of twin tubes carrying four traffic lanes, and is 6,414 feet (1,955 m) long. It once carried New York State Route 24.

When planning began, a bridge was strongly supported by some backers, who balked at the increased cost of a tunnel and the fact that it would not be completed in time for the 1939 World's Fair. Manhattan borough president Samuel Levy in particular was a strong backer of a six-lane bridge plan. Commissioner William Friedman of the New York City Tunnel Authority rejected the alternative outright.

As of December 30, 2010, the crossing charge for a two-axle passenger vehicle is $6.50 charged in each direction, with a $1.70 discount for E-ZPass users. The crossing charge for a motorcycle is $2.75 charged in each direction, with a discount to $.66 for E-ZPass users.

The tunnel is owned by the City of New York and operated by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, an affiliate agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York).

In the 1997 feature film Men in Black, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith star in a scene in which their Ford LTD car rides upside down on the ceiling of the tunnel.

Since 1981, the tunnel has been closed to traffic for a few hours one night each spring to allow for the annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Animal Walk. Several nights before the circus opens at Madison Square Garden, the elephants march into Manhattan and down 34th Street to the arena. In 2008, the circus opened on March 20th and the Animal Walk took place at approximately midnight on March 18th. While this event is a much anticipated annual tradition for some, in recent years it has attracted organizations protesting the treatment of the circus animals.

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