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AT&T Long Lines Building

New York, United States of America
1 of 8

The former AT&T Long Lines Building at 33 Thomas Street is a 167.5m tall skyscraper in the Borough of Manhattan, New York. It stands in the Civic Center neighborhood of New York City. The building is an example of the Brutalist architectural style with its flat concrete slab facade. The building is a telephone exchange or wire center building which contained three major 4ESS switches used for long distance telephony. The building is reportedly home to a National Security Agency surveillance facility named TITANPOINTE.

The building was designed by John Carl Warnecke to house telephone switching equipment. The average floor height is 5.5m. The exterior walls are precast concrete panels clad with flame-treated textured Swedish granite faces. There are six large protrusions from the rectangular base which house air ducts, stairs and elevators. It is often described as one of the most secure buildings in America, and was designed to be self-sufficient and protected from nuclear fallout for up to two weeks after a nuclear blast. Its style has been generally praised, with the New York Times saying it is a rare building of its type in Manhattan that "makes sense architecturally" and that it "blends into its surroundings more gracefully" than any other skyscraper nearby. The building is completely self-sufficient, and contains its own gas and water supplies as well as generation capabilities. Even with no public utility support the building can remain open for two weeks. During the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was the only building south of Canal Street that was operational.

The location was previously the site of cast-iron buildings, typical of the area, the facades of which were preserved prior to demolition. The building was a core part of the AT&T Long Lines Department, housing solid-state switching equipment which required a high level of security and space. The Long Lines Department became AT&T Communications in 1984, after the Bell System divestiture. The AT&T Long Lines Building is now commonly known by its street address, 33 Thomas St., like many major New York City commercial buildings.

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bostjan, January 9th, 2017
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