Halfway through the journey he had to instruct the taxi driver, who was ferrying him to the designated meeting point, to double back to his house so he could change his shirt. He brought a cup of tea out to the taxi driver while he waited, but the taxi driver refused it, claiming the tea had been poisoned. He still had the cup, tea bag and all, in the large white plastic bag that he carried with him.
The most immediate tasks are to fix a valve at the bottom of a 700-foot shaft in Dutchess County so pumps will eventually be able to drain the tunnel, and to ensure that the tunnel does not crack or collapse while it is empty.
For this, the city has enlisted six deep-sea divers who are living for more than a month in a sealed 24-foot tubular pressurized tank complete with showers, a television and a Nerf basketball hoop, breathing air that is 97.5 percent helium and 2.5 percent oxygen, so their high-pitched squeals are all but unintelligible. They leave the tank only to transfer to a diving bell that is lowered 70 stories into the earth, where they work 12-hour shifts, with each man taking a four-hour turn hacking away at concrete to expose the valve.