Underneath New York

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vanity Fair international correspondent, William Langewiesche, talks about his exploration of New York's underground infrastructure in the latest issue of Vanity Fair.


William Langewiesche
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Comments [12]

jonny from NYC

You have tag under the audio bar that says "infastructure" I think you mean "infRastructure"

Sep. 12 2013 02:53 PM
Jonathan from Park Slope

From the National Postal Museum:
Pneumatic mail service seems to have enjoyed its greatest success in New York City. Distances that had once taken up to 40 minutes by mail wagon could be covered by a cylinder sent through the pneumatic tube network in as little as seven minutes. Each cylinder (at least the ones in New York City) could hold 600 letters. ... Pneumatic tube mail was one of the factors leading to the demise of mail-by-streetcar. Eventually, New York City would be covered by 27 miles of pneumatic tubes.

Pneumatic tube mail was used in New York City until the 1950s. Service between Brooklyn and New York City was discontinued in April 1950 because of repairs on the bridge and was never restored. Service was suspended in 1953 for the rest of New York City, pending review. It had never been reinstated.

Sep. 12 2013 11:58 AM
Robert from NYC

There a stream that run through my basement. An ancient stream that was once running through a once lush forrest that is now 10th street and 3rd ave.

Sep. 12 2013 11:58 AM
Mark from Westchester

There indeed are big issues associated with NYC's water system, not least of which is the fact that within the watershed development is restricted, contributing to the festering poverty endemic to the region.

Sep. 12 2013 11:56 AM
Robert from NYC

There's always one scardy cat worry wort. Get over it or leave.

Sep. 12 2013 11:55 AM

Pneumatic postal tubes ran a circuit connecting various post office facilities around Manhattan. With one tube connecting the Main Post Office building in Brooklyn.

Sep. 12 2013 11:55 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

What about the steam rising out from Manhattan streets?

The movie Taxi Driver used cars, slowly emerging out of the mist from the steam rising out of the street at night to great effect.

Sep. 12 2013 11:55 AM
Ron from Manhattan

Living on the UES, I've gotten to peek at the open holes that view construction of the 2nd Avenue - quite an amazing feat of engineering! It's really a whole city, a whole building constructed in the opposite direction of the towers.
In response to your guests comments on the tunnels, what kind of measures have been taken to prevent terrorist attacks of those necessary infrastructure; that could be discussed here.

Sep. 12 2013 11:54 AM
Robert from NYC

There's a television show about hidden NY on channel 25 (NYC or NYE) hosted by I forgot her name but she's excellent and we've seen the new 3rd water main that he speaks of, the original City Hall Subway station and lots more of underground, steam etc. So you can actually see all of this if watch that show.

Sep. 12 2013 11:52 AM
Bobby G from East Village

For all the beat-downs that Mayor Bloomberg has taken during the primary election, I applaud him for the tremendous investment in the water infrastructure that the City has made during his tenure!

Sep. 12 2013 11:52 AM
Jonathan from Park Slope

Curious about William's claim that expense drove utilities underground rather than the congestion of multiple telegraph companies with their own networks (infrastructure of poles) and the failure of telegraph lines/poles after the Blizard of 1888.

Sep. 12 2013 11:50 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I'm afraid that Verizon is giving up on Underground land lines for telephones, expecting everyone to go wireless.

As cassette tape answering machines record and playback messages much clearer than the awful digital answering machines,

Land Line telephones audio sounds MUCH clearer than the over compressed cellphone.

Sep. 12 2013 11:50 AM

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