What’s up with NYC’s most unusual skyscraper?

A look at 33 Thomas Street

TRD New York /
Oct.October 18, 2014 04:00 PM

It’s brutal. It’s windowless. It’s oh-so 1970s. But love it or hate it, 33 Thomas Street is perhaps one of the most eye-catching towers in Manhattan.

Rising 550 feet, the flat concrete slab was built in 1974 and designed by architect John Carl Warnecke to look like an impenetrable fortress. And it isn’t bluffing: the building can withstand the fallout from a nuclear blast for up to two weeks, according to Buzzbuzzhome.

Moreover, each story is 18 feet high and can bear 200 to 300 pounds per square foot.

Until 1999, the structure served as a gargantuan telephone switchboard for AT&T Long Lines, the company’s long distance service, directing around 175 million calls per day.

Today, little is know about the goings-on inside the windowless skyscraper, which has naturally given rise to a number of conspiracy theories. But the most common explanation is that 33 Thomas Street operates as a colocation center, where companies securely house data and equipment. [Buzzbuzzhome] Christopher Cameron


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