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Sandhogs in New York City's East Side Access

Sandhog is the slang term given to urban miners, construction workers who work underground on a variety of excavation projects in New York City,[1] and later other cities.[2] Generally these projects involve tunneling, caisson excavation, road building, or some other type of underground construction or mining projects. The miners work with a variety of equipment from tunnel boring machines to explosives to remove material for the project they are building. The term is an American colloquialism.

Starting with their first job in 1872, the Brooklyn Bridge, the "hogs" have built a large part of the New York City infrastructure including the subway tunnels and sewers, Water Tunnels No. 1 and No. 2 as well as the currently under construction Water Tunnel No. 3, the Lincoln, Holland, Queens-Midtown, and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels. In addition, they worked on the foundations for most of the bridges and many of the skyscrapers in the city. Many of these workers are Irish or Irish American and West Indian.

Sandhogging is often a tradition and is passed down through generations of families; since mining projects span decades, it is not uncommon to find multi-generations of families to work together on the same job.[3]

Appearances in media[edit]




  1. ^ "The Men Who Make New York Work". NYC Sandhogs Local 147. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  2. ^ "A History of BART". 
  3. ^ Fisher, Ian (November 28, 1993). "Tunneling Into a World of Danger; Fatal Accident Puts Spotlight on Sandhogs' Perilous Job". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ "City of Water" (abstract), The New Yorker, September 1, 2003.
  6. ^ "Sandhogs - 800 feet below NYC streets". A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  7. ^ Penn Station The American Experience
  8. ^ 99% Invisible Episode 158: Sandhogs

Further reading[edit]

  • Armagnac, Alden P. (September 1947). "Sandhogs'". Popular Science. 
  • Chase, Borden (1941). Sandhog; the way of life of the tunnel builders. Evanston, Ill.: Row, Peterson and Co. OCLC 1525997. 
  • Delaney, Paul E. (1983). Sandhogs : a history of the tunnel workers of New York. OCLC 11517630. 
  • LeVay, Gina (2009). Sandhogs. Brooklyn, NY: PowerHouse Books. ISBN 978-1576875230. 

External links[edit]