New York City is well known for several buildings of fine architectural design, but the windowless skyscraper located at 33 Thomas is more than spectacular, it also stands as a monument to the curious.

Have you ever wondered about this famous building in New York with no windows? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Read on, and we’ll fill you in on all the interesting details.

A Windowless Curiosity

In the Civic Center District — located at 33 Thomas Street — stands an unusual building, a New York skyscraper with no windows. No, not one. It’s a giant, concrete, and granite covered, structure owned by AT&T— officially called The Long Lines Building.

Why Is There No Windows?

People often wonder why any building, let alone a skyscraper, would be constructed without windows. Well, here’s why: in 1974, architect John Carl Warnecke, was asked to design a structure that could withstand a nuclear attack — even protecting the occupants from the disastrous after-effects of fallout for a couple of weeks. In response, this is what he came up with — a solid concrete building, covered in heat-resistant granite, and built without a single, vulnerable window.

Unique Building Design

The AT&T skyscraper in New York City is 550 feet — the height of an average 40 story skyscraper but, in reality, it only has 29 stories. This gives extra space per floor to house the large and heavy long-distance telephone line switch equipment. The building has its own gas and water supplies — making it uniquely self-sufficient as well as incredibly secure.

With the exception of a few air ducts and openings for elevators, the structure has been referred to as the largest blank wall in the world.

The Man Behind the Idea

John Carl Warnecke was a renowned architect from San Francisco, California, who died in 2010, at the age of 92. He is also known for designing — among other well-known structures — the John F. Kennedy flame memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the Lafayette Center, and the Hawaii State Capitol Building.

As a Harvard graduate, Warnecke first worked for his architect father, then later moved on to private practice in 1950. Over the years of his professional career, he developed a close friendship with the Kennedys. And it was actually Jacqueline Kennedy who asked Warnecke to design her late husband’s gravesite, incorporating the eternal flame.

Along with the Kennedy eternal flame monument, the windowless AT&T skyscraper in New York is one of his most well-known designs.

AT&T Has Left the Building

In 1999, AT&T moved their facilities a few blocks away, but the unusual, windowless, skyscraper located at 33 Thomas street is now occupied by other carriers, as well as used as a database for high-security entities.

Fascination with this unique building — that is considered one of the most secure structures in the United States — continue with rumors of real-life top secret operations of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and The Federal Bureau of Investigations, to fictional film and television mentions like the movie Ghostbusters, the Netflix show Anon, and the hit series The X-Files.

If you’re in New York City and want to have the best possible views, there’s no need for an office with windows. Instead, come to High Bar and experience spectacular, panoramic sights of the New York City skyline, along with traditional and custom drinks, and a wide assortment of amazing small plates. You’ll find us conveniently located on the rooftop of the Doubletree at 346 West 40th. For reservations, just give us a call!

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