6 Landmarks That Are Secretly Awesome Transformers

#3. The Statue of Liberty Is Also a Crazy Giant Lighthouse

Wikimedia

The Mundane Landmark:

A gift from France to the U.S., the Statue of Liberty has one job: looking nice and thus selling postcards. It's also been the preferred establishing shot for when movies want to say "this part is set in New York" since 2002.

Derek Jensen/Wikimedia
In return, we gave them Jerry Lewis. Sorry, France.

But It's Also ...

For the first 16 years of its existence, old Lady Liberty was an insanely big lighthouse. In fact, it was so much bigger than all other reasonably sized lighthouses that they stopped using it precisely because the ships couldn't see much of the light way up in the torch, even though it took a whole plant to power it. If they pumped more electricity into the statue, it would have walked into the city and started zapping people like Emperor Palpatine.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
They also experimented with having it spew hellfire. That proved too costly.

As soon as the statue was completed in 1886, President Cleveland said "Right, let's do something awesome with it, shall we?" and appointed the U.S. Lighthouse Board to be in charge. The idea was that the torch would be used as a literal beacon of light for arriving ships, letting all foreign vessels know that the land they were about to enter was under the protection of a magical metal giant. Nine electric lamps were placed inside the torch, but unfortunately that still wasn't enough to compensate for its monumental height.

Instead, Lady Liberty ended up becoming a beacon of death for migratory birds -- they were dazzled by the torch's bright light and, for some reason, just dropped dead around it. Records show that 1,375 freaking birds were murdered by the statue on a single night in October 1887.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
Along with 41 transients, but no one cared about them.

In the end, the maintenance costs were just too much for something that didn't work very well, no matter how awesome, and the Statue of Liberty officially retired from lighthousing in 1902. The original bird-slaying torch can now be seen in the statue's museum.

#2. Taipei 101 Is Also a Huge Sundial

Derrick Coetzee/Wikimedia

The Mundane Landmark:

Taiwan's Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world for five years, until that bitch-ass Burj Khalifa in Dubai came along and stole its title. So today it's just another run-of-the-mill 1,670-foot, 101-floor mega-skyscraper in the middle of Taiwan.

Peellden, via Wikimedia
Waiting till Pacific Rim comes true and a giant robot uses it as a sword.

But It's Also ...

It might not be the tallest building anymore, but Taipei 101 still doubles as the largest sundial in the world -- notice the circular park by the base?

Alton/Wikimedia
Neat trick for those prone to vertigo: Imagine you're taking this photo.

That looks like the most boring skate park ever, but it's actually cleverly designed to work as a secret God-size clock. Every day in the afternoon, the shadow of the tower is cast over the park, indicating the time to the occupants and any giant creatures that might be going through Taiwan that day on their way to fight Godzilla. It also probably helps office workers know when it's time for their lunch break.

Alton/Wikimedia
If it's cloudy that day, they just starve.

That's not the only secret Taipei 101 hides within its massive frame: There's also the mysterious VIP club on the 101st floor, which, in true Fight Club fashion, nobody seems to talk about. There are nine "communication floors" separating that one from the last open-to-the-public level. OK, is there any chance that floor isn't a control room for when the millionaires who built this thing decide to take off back to their home planet?

#1. The Brooklyn Bridge Is Also a Gigantic Champagne Cellar

Petr Novák/Wikimedia

The Mundane Landmark:

The Brooklyn Bridge is not something you associate with wild drinking and partying, hopefully. You associate it with, you know, crossing a large body of water, because that's what bridges are for, and indeed that's what they can only be for. Right?

Oliver Norris / Hulton Archive / Getty
No, Woody Allen, putting them in the background as you make out with people doesn't count.

But It's Also ...

There's a series of underground rooms under the Brooklyn Bridge. How the hell do you put a room under a bridge? Well, technically they're under the anchorages of the bridge -- one catacomb under the Manhattan side and one under the Brooklyn side. And the most important part is that, for a long time, they were completely stuffed with alcohol.

Stanley Greenberg
Every square inch of this room has been barfed on at some point.

From before the bridge was even completed in 1883 to the beginning of Prohibition in 1918, these massive vaults, some of them 50 feet high, contained the best champagne and wine in New York -- renting them for alcohol storage made it possible to offset the massive debt caused by the bridge (or at the very least forget about it more easily). Prohibition spoiled things for a few years, but in 1934, the wine cellars reopened in grand style, with a big underground vault party taking place underneath the bridge, featuring champagne and Viennese waltzes, the '30s version of Red Bull and Skrillex.

So think about it: While respectable New Yorkers were getting into traffic jams and sounding their claxons, below the ground the spinsters were having wild parties. The Brooklyn Bridge was literally business in the front, party in the back. By the way, the vaults are so large and labyrinthine that they're still finding shit there -- just a few years ago, city workers stumbled across a hidden chamber stockpiled with Cold War supplies.

John Marshall Mantel/NY Times
Drums presumably filled with vodka, in case the Russians won and we had to adjust.

Inexplicably, the artificial bridge caves are now used for maintenance equipment rather than champagne, making us seriously wonder where our priorities lie these days.


N. Christie is currently traveling the world to determine once and for all what the Seven Wonders of the World really are.


Related Reading: There's even MORE you don't know about famous landmarks! For example: The flag on the moon is completely white by now. And if you thought Mount Everest was a pristine example of nature's unspoiled finery, think again. It's mostly garbage and old corpses at this point. There are more myths about the landmarks you know and love: Click here to shatter what illusions you have left.

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