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Park Slope Armory Has Secret Tunnel and Underground Shooting Range

 A statue of a WWI doughboy guards the Park Slope Armory.
A statue of a WWI doughboy guards the Park Slope Armory.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

In addition to a YMCA and a women's shelter, it turns out the Park Slope Armory on Eighth Avenue and 15th Street is home to a veterans' museum that organizers want to expand and publicize.

Museum director Tom Miskel has gathered a bounty of lore about the Armory, which was a military facility from 1895 until 1995, when the U.S. Army turned it over to the city.

Here are some little-known tidbits about the Armory:

► It was once said that ghosts from the Spanish-American War left footprints on the Armory's freshly painted ceiling and walls in the 1950s. Another rumored spirit in the building was reportedly the ghost of a Civil War vet who worked as an armorer tending to guns and ammunition stored in the building. He lived in a small room in the Armory's turret and died of natural causes, Miskel said.

► A secret underground tunnel once ran from the Armory to the the middle of Prospect Park. The idea was that soldiers could use it as an escape route if the Armory was attacked, Miskel said. Much of it collapsed with the construction of the subway and residential development in Park Slope.

It's thought that the entrance is in the Armory's basement but the exact location has been lost to time. No one has been able to track down blueprints for the Armory, Miskel said.

► The Armory is three stories high and has two levels below its basement. The subterranean portion once held a shooting range, horse stables and a rumored bowling alley. The shooting range was in a passageway that stretches from Eighth Avenue almost all the way to Seventh Avenue. Bullet holes can still be seen in metal arches on the tunnel's ceiling.

There are at least two other staircases that lead to a level below the underground shooting range, but Miskel joked that he hasn't been brave enough to explore them.

► A scene from "Raging Bull" where Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci talk in a harshly lit tunnel was filmed in one of the Armory's underground passages. Miskel watched the movie recently and immediately recognized the tunnel, he said.

Frank Sinatra once filmed a movie scene outside the Armory.

► The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons were once stored at the Armory.

► The Armory was reportedly once home to an indoor baseball game and it's been said that the Brooklyn Dodgers practiced there from 1955-56. The huge structure also hosted a roller skating rink, college basketball games and women's roller derby matches.

Tanks were once stored in the area where bleachers now overlook the YMCA's indoor running track.