New York City is a bastion of culture with an array of exciting, innovative museums to explore, which is why I wandered into an abandoned elevator shaft this morning thinking it was a museum.
Home to world-famous institutions of art, science, culture, and history, New York has such a vast number of museums that a travel writer could be forgiven for thinking that this abandoned elevator shaft is among them! New York is known as a cutting edge player in the international art and culture scene, yet it boasts much more than The Met and the National History Museum: The city also offers a museum housed in a former tenement building, a maritime museum on a Brooklyn barge, and a transit museum located in an out-of-service subway station, so honestly, why wouldn’t this clearly historic elevator shaft be a museum too?
Ever the leader in guest experience, New York museums go above and beyond to create exciting, participatory exhibits, such as rides on a 19th century boat at the Seaport Museum, a sexy and provocative bounce house at the Museum of Sex and historic trains to board at the Transit Museum, so it follows logically that you would enter an Elevator Museum by squeezing through the ancient cracked doors and plummeting 16 feet to the bottom of the shaft, doesn’t it? Immersive historical details such as the functioning 18th century garden at the Dutch Farmhouse Museum and WWII fighter planes at the Intrepid Museum have become a mainstay in New York museums. In spite of its offerings of early-model guiderails, a 20th century counterweight system, and a Leith Brothers Patented Tension Pulley, this abandoned elevator shaft is nevertheless not a museum.
Today’s cultural institutions pride themselves on their refuge-like quality, often prohibiting cell phone use and discouraging loud conversations. This abandoned elevator shaft creates an equally peaceful experience by shutting out all noises from the exterior and stubbornly denying its inhabitants—me—a cell phone signal.
While this abandoned elevator shaft is most definitely not a museum and almost certainly is a death trap, it nevertheless offers many of the charms of any of New York City’s fine cultural institutions.
Gwen Lawson would appreciate you bringing her some snacks.