NYC’s Windowless Skyscraper

Walking down the streets of Manhattan in New York City, you can’t help but notice all of the incredible and spectacular skyscrapers that make up the city skyline from the Empire State Building to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to One World Trade Center.

If you’ve walked around the neighborhood of Tribeca, you may have come across a very unique and interesting skyscraper . . . unique and interesting in that it has no windows.

Located at 33 Thomas Street between Thomas and Worth Streets, the windowless skyscraper is the former AT&T Long Lines building. Standing at 550 feet tall, the building which opened in 1974, was designed and built to house telephone switching equipment. The exterior façade of the building is constructed of flat concrete slabs with large protrusions located at about the midpoint and top of the building used for ventilation. The building is self-sufficient with its own gas, electric and water supply and can continue to operate for up to two weeks without public utilities. It was also designed to survive nuclear fallout for up to two weeks.

By 1999, AT&T completed the move of their operations out of 33 Thomas Street over to their current home at 32 Avenue of the Americas which is also home to commercial tenants including Verizon, T-Mobile, NYU, iHeartMedia and the iHeartRadio Theater.

Given the secure nature of the building, the former AT&T Long Lines building continued to be used for some telephone switching equipment and as space for secure datacenters. Little information is available on the current use and operations status of the former AT&T Long Lines building.