Telling the history of the Sandhogs 26 August 2015

TunnelTalk reporting

A new radio documentary featuring the history and Irish ancestry of the legendary Sandhogs of New York City will be broadcast on Saturday (29 August).

Holethrough celebration under New York City
Holethrough celebration under New York City

The Sandhogs, part of the summer season of documentary on Irish radio station Newstalk, is produced by Pavel Barter, who was granted unique access to the caverns and tunnels of the East Side Access mega-project under Manhattan to enable him to make the programme.

Barter takes a journey through generations of father-son unions, venturing deep into Local Union 147 (the Sandhog base in the Bronx), and deep into the tunnels of New York to experience the fruits of Sandhog labour and the dangers they face on a daily basis.

From laying the foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge, through to building the Lincoln Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the entire subway network, and the tunnels that ferry the city's water from upstate, the Sandhogs have been – and continue to be – integral to the survival of one of the world’s greatest cities.

In the documentary Barter speaks to 147’s retired political director John ‘Chick’ Donohue, business manager Richard T. Fitzsimmons, union president John Ryan, and a host of Irish tunnel workers.

In the UK The Sandhogs will be broadcast on Newstalk 106–108fM on Saturday 29 August at 7am, repeated again at 10pm. The programme can be listened to online at, and a downloadable podcast will be available at after the boradcast.


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