City Secrets – Deviously Deceptive Edifices


See that image above? Nothing out of the ordinary, right? You simply see a plain ol’ doorstep leading to a plain ol’ door, on an equally plain ol’ ( albeit dark ) townhouse, right? If you do, you would be wrong in thinking so, and you would be in plentiful company. It is made in this meticulous fashion to remain disguised. What if this doorstep, door, heck even the entire face of this construction was fake? That it is in fact a facade that acts as a more aesthetically pleasing portal to the subterranean realm underneath? You would disbelieve, then reluctantly accept the truth when you take a deeper look into this ‘dwelling’ of deception. The one pictured above in Brooklyn, New York, is in actuality a secret subway exit that has probably been frustrating hapless door-to-door salesmen and members of groups with aggressive recruitment doctrines and policies for over a century. Once being a functioning home dating as far back as 1847, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York acquired the property in 1908 to change it into a subway ventilator when the first underwater subway tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn was being constructed, and it’s appearance reflected it’s purpose. Industrial. Since 1999, it has been revised and remodeled by the MTA to appear like it’s just any ol’ part of the block. Now though, in conjunction with it’s aforementioned use as a subway vent, it is also used as an emergency exit. It is unclear when this location took on this secondary function but it’s not beyond belief it was post 9/11 when the threat of subway fires were not outside the reach of possibility. Here’s to hoping this vacant construction never needfully beckons to civilians outside the occasional deluded vampire hunter seeking game beyond it’s opaque, sunlight-depraving windows. Read more about this facade and others like it in England and France here.




Category: Architecture, Misc, Spotlight