No, Spies Aren't Using That Windowless Tower In New York

Many of you have probably never even noticed the giant nuclear-warhead-proof concrete obelisk that looms over downtown Manhattan -- it's easy to miss.
No, Spies Aren't Using That Windowless Tower In New York

There have been some nasty rumors circulating around the internet that the Long Lines Building -- the tall, completely windowless concrete building located at 33 Thomas St. in Manhattan -- contains a secret NSA spying facility. Well I, reliable writing person Aaron Kheifets, am here to tell you 1) that is most certainly not the case, and 2) this is definitely me writing this.

Many of you have probably never even noticed the giant nuclear-warhead-proof concrete obelisk that looms over downtown Manhattan -- it's easy to miss.

No, Spies Aren't Using That Windowless Tower In New York

Not sure if you can see it here, but it's the windowless one on the right.

It's even easier to miss at night, because there are no lights on it, so it is like a giant black shadow in the sky.

No, Spies Aren't Using That Windowless Tower In New York

Like if a building were a ninja.

In fact, The New York Times once said that it "blends into its surroundings more gracefully than does any other skyscraper in this area." Does that sound like a top-secret spying facility to you? Certainly not! Where would James Bond park his Aston Martin? That's what spies are like, and that isn't what this place is.

There has been some speculation about what goes on inside the building, which I think is silly, because it's just a normal building where normal things happen. But you can't stop people from wondering! (Both in the legal and logistical senses.) There are a lot of perfectly reasonable uses for this enormous tower that have nothing to do with spying. For example ...

Normal Office Space

Some very smart people over at have speculated that it is just regular office space. That is a very good speculation. For one, the lack of windows really cuts down on your heating bills. Often, when businesses rent out a skyscraper in the middle of downtown Manhattan, they don't realize that heating bills can really add up. As someone who's lived in New York for 9.5 years (which is a biographical fact further establishing that I am me), I can't tell you the number of multinational corporations I've seen rent out multi-million-dollar buildings, only to break the bank on heating.

33 Thomas could easily be rented out by a normal, cost-conscious company.

Apartments For People With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sure, windows seem great when it's sunny out, but what about a gloomy rain? I'd rather not take my chances, thank you very much. You can do wonderful things with UV lamps and colorful wallpaper these days. Never rolling the dice on the weather again? Get me a painting of a sunrise and sign me up!

Elephant Storage

Have you ever wondered where they store elephants when the circus is in town? If you're anything like me, the question is constantly on your mind, and 33 Thomas provides an obvious solution. With floors built to hold up to 300 pounds per square foot and an average ceiling height of 18 feet, it's hard to imagine what could be going on in there besides stabling elephants. So let's not!

Living Quarters For Survivalists Who Love The Big City

If you're preparing for a nuclear conflict (and who isn't these days?), but you aren't much of a country person, your living options are fairly limited. Sure, you could live in the Bronx, but the train service isn't great. 33 Thomas is one of the only buildings in New York designed to withstand a nuclear blast, so this is perfect for them. Not only that, but it can also support 1,500 people for two weeks during the ensuing fallout, even if all utilities and other businesses have not survived.

Who needs on-site gym or laundry facilities when you've got the amenity of being the only doomsday-proofed building? This could easily be an attractive rental option for people who simply have to attend galas at MoMA, but are also preparing to purify their own urine into drinking water after the smoke clears.

Plus, it's got incredibly fast and secure "backbone" internet access, so you can stream ballet from countries that weren't hit in the initial exchange.

MiB Headquarters

I have no evidence that the Men in Black are real, which is exactly what the situation would be if they were real! If that seems far-fetched, it certainly isn't any more far-fetched than it being a key site for a NSA program called "SKIDROWE."

I mean, if the NSA did have surveillance programs going on there, "SKIDROWE" sure doesn't sound like one of them.


And if it did have a program called SKIDROWE, the logo for it certainly wouldn't be something Derek would have asked his nephew work up in MS Paint, even though everyone at the office explicitly told him not to.

If anything, that sounds like a program to help the homeless or something. And why would you want to go snooping around that? What, do you hate the homeless or something? Maybe you should be taking a long hard look at yourself instead of instead of poking around perfectly inconspicuous buildings.

Testing Site For Giant Vents

Because of its extreme windowlessness, ventilation is probably a bit of a concern in the building. That's why there are giant vents on the 10th and 29th floors. A 29-story windowless building with three basement levels that are a hub for a ton of international communication is the perfect place to test out your giant vents. Something tells me we're about to see a new player in the lucrative giant vent marketplace.

The Architect Forgot To Draw Windows

The simplest explanation is usually right. So it seems highly likely that the real explanation is that the architect of the building, Norm Alman, simply forgot to draw any windows on the building, as supported by this early sketch:

No, Spies Aren't Using That Windowless Tower In New York

Think about it. Have you ever seen a building where everyone involved forgot to put windows on it? No? Well that's because this is the one time that happened. There's got to be one out there, and this is it. I'm guessing it happened because Norm Alman was an amateur architect. That explains why we've never heard of him before or since. That's a lot of egg on his (real person) face!

Boring Stuff

As with most things, the truth is probably pretty boring. 33 Thomas was "designed to house long lines telephone equipment and to protect it and its operating personnel," which sounds very boring and technical, and therefore nothing like spying.

Besides, look how boring it looks. It looks like the most boring and inconspicuous building imaginable. So whatever is going on there, whether it's boring business stuff, boring technical stuff, or just an eco-friendly apartment building, let's all stop trying to find out what it is and get back to the exciting and fun things happening on the internet -- like posting our personal information on Facebook.

For example: I, Aaron Kheifets, do most of my clothing shopping online and have a surprisingly low tolerance for pain. Now your turn!

Aaron Kheifets is a writer who has not been kidnapped by the NSA. You can follow him on Twitter, where he will be tweeting "Everything is fine" every 15 minutes just to let you know everything is fine.

For more, check out 6 Insane Conspiracy Theories (That Actually Happened) and 5 Eerie Conspiracies Theorists Were Right About All Along.

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