View Full Version : Question - I saw a building today...

Freedom Tower
August 7th, 2003, 05:59 PM
Hey, I was in the city today and I saw this building that was probably about 500 ft tall but had no windows. It was in lower manhattan and not too far from Chinatown or Ground Zero. I was wondering.... what building is that? It had no windows and was all grey.

August 7th, 2003, 06:29 PM
It could be the Verizon switching center. *It is filled with telephone machinery, which does not need sunlight. *Hence - no windows.

August 7th, 2003, 06:54 PM

If you mean this monstrosity, it's the AT&T switching center on Thomas St. Maybe the equipment didn't need sunlight, but those of us on the inside would have appreciated a few rays.

I was on the roof once. The outstanding view made the lack of windows all the more annoying.

At the time it was built, telephone equipment generated much more heat, and the building heating system was designed to capture the heat and store it in salt banks, to be released when needed. With modern equipment *generating less heat, and no sunlight - the place was always cold and gloomy.

I'll say something positve about it - It was (and probably still is) the busiest switching central office in the world.

TLOZ Link5
August 7th, 2003, 08:18 PM
Though the fact stands that it's possibly the ugliest.

You work there, Zippy?

August 7th, 2003, 08:35 PM
We have one of those too in Chicago. It is the AT&T Switching Center. Only thirty stories and it does have windows on the upper floors. But it is a very inhospitable building.

August 7th, 2003, 09:06 PM
I did at one time, but no longer. Also at the other windowless wonder on 10 ave and W53 st.

If you think it's ugly now, it was originally planned to be twice as big (wide, not high). The left side in the photo faces east. *Notice the asymmetry. There is a plaza and a row of low buildings fronting Broadway. When first built, the east wall was not faced in stone; the intention was to extend the building to Broadway. In fact, the original address was 323 Broadway. As more compact equipment was developed, the plans were dropped, and the stone facade, which had been weathering in a field in New Jersey, was installed.

Could you imagine a giant slab from Church St to Broadway? *Like a butte in Montana.

August 7th, 2003, 09:18 PM
So thats why its asymmetrical? WOW.

I cannot imagine that. Those buttes in Montana are*rock-formation that are natural beauties by nature and of god. And this would be a blight by man. Or otherwise a gateway to hell.

(Edited by Stern at 9:19 pm on Aug. 7, 2003)

August 8th, 2003, 07:33 AM
A butte is a beaut in Montana, but in Manhattan, a butte is a butt.

Freedom Tower
August 8th, 2003, 09:52 AM
Haha. That is it. Thanks you guys. That thing is weird. What is the other windowless wonder? There is another AT&T building in Midtown is that it?

By the way, my guess wasn't too far off. The building is 551ft but only has 29 floors!! http://www.skyscrapers.com/re/en/wm/bu/114288/

(Edited by Freedom Tower at 9:57 am on Aug. 8, 2003)

Freedom Tower
August 8th, 2003, 10:01 AM
I couldn't resist. Check this AT&T building out. http://www.skyscrapers.com/re/en/wm/bu/116258/
Is it just me or does AT&T really build some strange looking things? This one was designed to survive a nuclear blast... I doubt it would though.

August 10th, 2003, 09:56 AM
Here are all the NY Telephone buildings in NYC


Quote from AT&T Long Lines Building entry -

"This building is essentially 'windowless' for the security and protection of the expensive equipment"

The Barclay-Vesey Building has plenty of windows and it SURVIVED a terrorist attack, including a direct hit from the falling 7 WTC.

Freedom Tower
August 10th, 2003, 10:18 PM
Yes, but was equipment inside damaged? I think they were more worried that stuff flying through windows would damage equipment rather than having no windows would make the building stronger. Im not sure but thats just my guess.

August 20th, 2003, 03:10 PM
One of the reasons the building has no windows is because people don't work inside. *The floors are rented out to companies like Travelocity, Mastercard, etc. (at least in the 10th Ave one). *This is where they keep their server farms. *
A cool note - the elevators in the 10th Ave AT&T bldg have no buttons! *When you enter the building you sign in with the security guard (sometimes he/she is the only person in the entire bldg) you tell them what floor you need to get to. *When you get to the elevator, the doors open up and once you step inside they take you right to your destination. *They won't stop on any other floor. *Pretty cool, eh?

August 20th, 2003, 07:53 PM
I can't imagine anyone working in this building.

TLOZ Link5
August 20th, 2003, 08:10 PM
Me neither, Dominicano. *It looks like a subway ventilation shaft of hideous proportions.

August 20th, 2003, 08:21 PM
The absense of people inside is a consequence of technology, but that is not the reason they were built windowless. When constructed 1960-1970, hundreds of people worked in each.

During World war II, the AT&T building at 32 Ave of Americas had steel shutters installed to protect the equipment. The cold war paranoia probably influenced the windowless design.

August 20th, 2003, 10:33 PM
Zippy's right, there are other beautiful art-deco communications buildings around the city with plenty of windows. *There's the one right next to ground zero, and the one in tribeca by the holland tunnel. *I'm also thinking of a 1930's gem in Newark that you can see from the train.

September 17th, 2003, 05:10 PM
I think I've seen it before. I think it has something to do with telephones. :)