‘High-Rise Hell’: N.Y.C. Skyscraper’s Elevator Breakdowns Strand Tenants | NY State Senate

2022-04-02 08:24:46 By : Mr. Vincent She

Chair, Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development

A luxury residential building in the financial district with more than 750 apartments has been experiencing lengthy elevator outages since the fall.

When it was completed in 1931, the City Bank-Farmers Trust Company Building towered over the financial district as one of the tallest buildings in New York City. It was, in fact, the tallest with a stone-clad facade, which featured 14 Assyrian-style busts, called “giants of finance,” watching over the narrow streets from their perch on the 19th floor. Replicas of coins from around the world adorned the entrance, representing countries where National City Bank — which would later become Citibank — had branches.

The 59-story building, at 20 Exchange Place, is now a bustling residential high-rise with more than 750 apartments, featuring luxury amenities, stunning harbor views and some rent-stabilized units. Tenants breeze into the lobby, with its soaring ceilings and elaborate marble mosaics, and into Art Deco-style elevators to reach their homes.

Or they used to, anyway.

Since November, the skyscraper has been plagued by long elevator outages that have turned daily life upside down and trapped residents with mobility issues inside their apartments. Elevator service is unpredictable and often nonexistent, for hours at a time, above the 15th floor. The elevators that service the lower floors have continued to work, even as the outages have grown more frequent in the last two months.