Rising Up, Rising Down

[Image: Untitled (2001) by Maurizio Cattelan, courtesy of the Marian Goodman Gallery, via the New Yorker].

The New Yorker has a fascinating and somewhat unbelievable article up right now – more like a story by Paul Auster – about a man named Nicholas White who once found himself trapped inside a New York City elevator for 41 hours.
That experience apparently so traumatized White that his entire life went into free-fall:
    He never learned why the elevator stopped; there was talk of a power dip, but nothing definite. Meanwhile, White no longer had his job, which he’d held for fifteen years, and lost all contact with his former colleagues. He lost his apartment, spent all his money, and searched, mostly in vain, for paying work. He is currently unemployed.
It's a very long article, but it's a fantastic read.
Meanwhile, I wonder what sorts of urban myths might exist about lost elevators and the people trapped inside them – perhaps some still moving room deep inside an Upper East Side high-rise where an anonymous woman, long dead, traffics up and down without end, going nowhere. The elevator doors on each floor have been bricked over and the building's residents assume that the noise is really just the ventilation at work, or the plumbing.
Till they notice a smell...
It's like Edgar Allan Poe meets The Intuitionist meets Dark Water via BLDGBLOG.

(Article spotted at MeFi).

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Daily Routines said...

Reminds me of a Talk of the Town from a few years ago, by the same author, where he investigates the urban myth of the "elevator hack": that by pressing the "door close" button at the same time as your floor number, you can bypass everyone else's requests and zoom straight to your floor. Worth reading:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/17/051017ta_talk_paumgarten

April 16, 2008 7:44 AM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Funny, I wrote that article up on BLDGBLOG back in 2005: Elevator Hacking. Didn't realize it was the same author.

April 16, 2008 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if all who used elevator knew how much of cost to run an elevator? What if half the people in New York began using the stairs instead? Would this reduce New York's energy footprint by 10%

April 16, 2008 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been creeped out by a blog before. Thanks... I guess....

April 17, 2008 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine got stuck in a lift in Covent Garden tube station, in London. He waited in the dark, like a sardine, for 30 mins, until staff got them all out: by winching the adjacent lift to the same level and having everyone step over the void into it. I always wondered why lifts on the Tube had little doors in the side... Needless to say, he didn't enjoy any part of the experience: claustraphopia AND vertigo. Nice.

April 17, 2008 9:19 AM  
Blogger miriam said...

This article describes my worst nightmare. I'd rather be blown up by a terrorist.

April 17, 2008 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is this youtube video the man in question?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxW36e6XMOY

it's a rather disturbing but fascinating time lapse of what happens when one's trapped in a 6X6 box for 2 days

April 21, 2008 6:33 PM  

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