Auto Wrecker in The Hole, New York City

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“The Hole” is an unusual and lesser-known neighborhood in New York City, notable for its distinct characteristics.

The Hole is located on the border between Brooklyn and Queens, particularly between the neighborhoods of East New York, Brooklyn, and Howard Beach, Queens.

Tucked away from Manhattan’s bustling streets and bright lights, a neighborhood straddling the Brooklyn-Queens border echoes the expansive landscapes of the Midwest and the post-industrial atmosphere of cities like Detroit.

In this community, affectionately known as The Hole, the essence of home prevails despite the absence of basic urban amenities, including a sewer system.

Spanning just five square blocks, The Hole is a forgotten fragment of New York City, resting 30 feet below sea level. Here, men on horseback navigate through streets bordered by heaps of rubble and refuse. Meals are often heated on car radiators, a testament to the area’s rugged improvisation. Echoing a darker past, The Hole is rumored to have been a Mafia burial site, with hidden secrets under its marshy grounds for potential FBI discovery.


Eldert Lane, 78th (Sapphire) Street, South Conduit Avenue, and Linden Boulevard generally enclose the neighborhood known as The Hole. This area is in close proximity to other neighborhoods like East New York, Lindenwood, and Ozone Park.

Additionally, The Hole proudly hosts the New York City Federation of Black Cowboys.

Sewage Issues

In the 1960s, workers raised the level of some streets in The Hole and paved them, creating a better connection between South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard. This elevation necessitated homeowners adjacent to these streets to construct retaining walls, as the first level of their houses became below grade. In 2004, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) planned to link the neighborhood to the city’s sewer system to mitigate flooding by elevating the land. However, as of 2022, although a plan to elevate the streets and integrate the sewer system remained in the city’s capital budget, its implementation had yet to occur.

Other alternatives include buying out residents to revert the area to a natural floodplain. The city is also considering more cost-effective plant-based drainage solutions. Some drainage improvements in 2023 did expedite water drainage following Tropical Storm Ophelia, improving the conditions experienced during Hurricane Ida in 2021. Yet, they were insufficient to prevent flooding that isolated some residents.

Meanwhile, residents have taken matters into their own hands, devising makeshift solutions to tackle flooding. These DIY measures include connecting to public utilities to power outdoor sump pumps, which help remove water from the streets.

Mob Graveyard

The exact time when the mob began using The Hole as a mass graveyard remains unclear, but the first known discovery occurred in 1981. A couple of children stumbled upon Alphonse “Sonny Red” Indelicato’s body, a Bonanno crime family member who had unfortunately become entangled in a mob civil war. However, The Hole gained most of its notoriety as the preferred dumping ground for bodies by the infamous John Gotti, who took over the Gambino crime family in 1985.

Residents often nonchalantly indicate the spots where authorities have unearthed bodies from the swampy ground. For instance, Angel, a taxi dispatcher who chose The Hole as his home to stay hidden, gestured around his yard, where chickens pecked at watermelon slices under a decrepit car.\

“In this yard, they found several bodies; seven across the street, four on the corner, about 13 over there by that mall,” he explained. He also mentioned that a construction project nearby had halted the previous summer when workers discovered human bones.


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