The Coolest Elevator in New York

Last week, I was scouting office space in a building in Queens. My guide brought me to this totally unassuming elevator:

Elevat (01)

Really, I have to show you this as I encountered it:

Elevat (02)

Elevat (03)

Elevat (04)

Elevat (05)

WOW. It’s like Willy Wonka built an elevator to the land of Oz! Easily the coolest elevator I’ve ever been on in New York:

Elevat (06)

Here’s a full panorama looking toward the rear of the elevator (that’s a railing beneath the mirror)…

Elevat (07)

…and a reverse pan showing the front:

Elevat (08)

Lining the ceiling are these great monster heads made out of mechanical bits…

Elevat (09)

Each is poking through its own hole:

Elevat (10)

More characters, including a king:

Elevat (11)

Another character:

Elevat (12)

The elevator is a last remnant from when the former Macy’s warehouse building catered to a more artsy clientele. In fact, the entire lobby was once decked out in matching accoutrements, most of which have been removed as part of a conversion to more traditional office space. Thankfully, the new owners decided to keep the unusual elevator in the back corner.

Elevat (13)

Best of all, there’s a cool fish-eye mirror at one end, which makes it look like you’re leaning out of some parallel dimension:

Elevat (14)

I’m a big fan of anything that makes my day a little more surreal, and this is the last thing I was expecting on the other side of those bland white elevator doors. If anyone knows who the artist was, please let me know!

-SCOUT

PS – One other installation was left in the lobby – a school bus, apparently paused in the midst of an avant-garde crash:

Elevat (15)

Not sure if this hand is causing the accident or saving it…

Elevat (16)

But it’s probably a safe bet you don’t want to be in either of these seats!

Elevat (19)

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67 comments

  1. WOW!!!!

  2. if you are able to tell us.. where is this, exactly?

  3. “Not sure if this hand is causing the accident or saving it…”

    We used to have this discussion frequently (I used to work in that building and the one across the street.) There’s also an elevator with the rest of the bus.

  4. I feel like ive been in this building before. is it in LIC?

  5. This looks like the elevator I use to have to ride upstairs ..tho I remember it being alot more scarey more tim burtonish ..Off the 7 train in LIC..I used to work for a Telephone Survey place and gettin on and off this elevator used to freak me out

  6. Absolutely incredible, thanks for sharing this gem!

  7. This is in LIC and according to http://www.licweb.com/history.html It is either the old Macy’s or Gimbel’s warehouse. The sentence can be read 2 ways.
    “The Macy’s warehouse became the Falchi Building, and it houses a unique artistically playful interior rivaled only by its next door neighbor, The Factory, in the old Gimbel’s warehouse, with its dragon elevator and metallic slanted cut metal ceilings and walls.”

  8. Coolest elevator in the world! Not suitable for kids under 5, I assume.

  9. This work was in the old Macy’s warehouse.

    The artwork was created by three artists, they referred to themselves as the “Three Johns”. One of the artists was Johnny Swing and his work can be seen at johnnyswing.com. The artists were amazing welders. To make the arm they disassembled an old school bus. Taking apart the bus was incredibly difficult. The landlord for the building who encouraged and guided their work was Irwin Cohen. Irwin Cohen later created the Chelsea Market in NYC.

    The building originally had many cool sculptures done by the artists including a space exploration installation featuring a space shuttle made from a toilet urinal. Eventually, the new owners removed most of the items.

  10. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

    That sort of thing makes the daily grind more bearable. Life should be interesting and beautiful like that.

  11. W O W. I did NOT see that coming. Thanks, Scout!

  12. I was thinking about how it would be to have that door open to you when you were drunk…or stoned. :D

  13. I love it. What imagination. I would love to see the dragon elevator.

  14. I’d sure hate to get stuck in that elevator!

  15. I hope you read these comments cause it seems some people know who did the elevator … Great work and that’s for posting !!!

  16. WOW!!! I’d love to check that out!

  17. WHy post this stuff if you do not say where it is?

  18. It looks more like the Stephen King/ Richard Matheson elevator to hell. It’s Every nigthmare I ever had. And you got in it? You’re a brave man.

  19. 30-00 47th Ave, LIC, NY 11101

  20. Actually, I WORK in the building, for whatever reason the address changed a couple years back to 3030 47th. Same place, just a new address.

  21. This is like the elevator from HELL, but it’s very original and interesting. I have to check it out one day :)

  22. Wow, great! Pieces like these lighten up dull and grey city areas.
    It is real art.

  23. very … incredible and wish there was one like that here in seattle to go with our troll.

  24. Very cool indeed. It is an interesting concept to entertain / give information to people while going in elevators like the ones in Sears Towers,Rockefeller towers etc

  25. Can someone just walk in there and check it out?
    I’d love to just take a look at it myself, even photograph it.

  26. spectacular;amazing. I would like to live on the roof.

  27. Imagine…i am of that generation…imagine taking a hit of LSD and then walking in there 90 minutes later! Mind blowing.

  28. Wow! Again! I’m adding this to my bucket list! Where is “LIC”?

  29. How jaw-droppingly fantastic.

  30. Java Narendra Kumar

    excellent interiors. Wish we had some elevators like these in India. My dream project. One day we too shall have Designer Elevators in Indian Metros.

  31. Like they say cannot judge a book by its cover! Never know what will surprise you in life. This is one cool surprise!!!

  32. That is too cool. Is it available to the public? Maybe the building’s owner would put it in Open House NY.

  33. Is this somewhere we can just go and see this?? Or is it restricted?! What’s the scoop?

  34. Woah! Willy Wonka Elevator! Awesome!

  35. This is amazing!!!

  36. The artist who made the figures is J.J Veronis. There was a huge lawsuit in the 90′s against Helmsley-Spear to stop destruction of the art works, NYT covered the story, as well as others.

  37. now this I have to see with my own eyes

  38. I remember when i was about 10 or so my dad brought me in this one elevator with all mirrors and when the door opens you had no damn clue which one was the real door that’s how frigging freaky it was, the story goes there’s an accident every 20 minutes of someone whacking into a mirror, eventually lawsuits came up and they had to remove it..but god it was crazy..there were no hand railings to make it easy to spot, the mirror was flush with floor to ceiling, I never forgot that day..the only way you know the real door that u walk in and stay faced to the door, dont move around or lose sight or you be in mirror land,dont ask me where it was i was 10 than…it could be in Connecticut to Maine??

  39. I feel like ive been in this building before.

  40. Hi,

    Thanks to one of the bloggers here, Chuck Smith, I’m peeking into this conversation for the first time. I am one of the artists on the project and do appreciate the comments here. Jon Singer seems very knowledgeable on the topic. Jon, do you work there? Did I know you those 20 years ago? The project appeared in Wall St Journal, New York Times, ArtNews, Art In America, NBC and CNN. There are many photos of it which I am going to dig up and there is also documentary footage that was shot but not edited. I am in contact with the videographer and could probably do something with it.

    If anyone would like to contact me I’m at jfcarter@mac.com. Cheers!

  41. Increible, en España no decoramos asi los ascensores, muy buenas fotos !

  42. This is really creative! It’s like entering into another world!

  43. omg!! thats my dads old office building. me and my brothers used to sit in there and eat pizza from the deli. coolest elevator in the world!!

  44. That is amazing, I think what I like the most is how the outside of the elevator is so plain.

  45. Best looking elevator ever! I don’t know if it’s the design but it looks huge. Like an entire room that stretches deep into the elevator. I bet people seeing it for the first time freak out like crazy

  46. Get a job and raise the money you freak

  47. As those doors opened I would’ve probably stumbled back (weak in the knees) in utter amazement. Unforgettable artwork!

  48. sixto indacochea

    cool pero coloquen los foros en spanish

  49. Wow So cool i wish there was more of this instead of the HUM-DRUM.. NORMAL, boring automatic Cheap Garbage we put up woth on a day 2 day Basis… GREAT pICS…. fUNKINGTASTIK!!!

  50. Reminds me of some horror film and a descent into hell.

  51. Amazing elevator… But I think that once they did something that huge and creative they could have picked another drawing or at least other colors.

  52. greattttttttttttttt

  53. I went to Aviation High School down the street. If you think that was cool, you should have seen the whole lobby, before most of the stuff was taken down. It was my favorite place to go when I cut class and was tripping balls. What a shame they took all that down. It really made a huge impact on me. For the first time I saw two of my passions combined… Mechanics and art. There were sensors through out the lobby so many things were animated. The best were the doors that lead to a giant Hall. They looked like a Giant ship had crashed into the building and the doors was the actual front end of a ship. It was truly amazing and a great loss for NYC art culture. SHAME SHAME SHAME! I HATE NYC!

  54. AMAZING…nice interior design… Incredible…

  55. I cannot imagine why anyone would take down such art!??? Since they did take it down, where did they put it?

  56. Does it really exist?

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