I worked at New York City's windowless building – this is what I saw

EXCLUSIVE: I worked construction on New York City’s mysterious windowless building – here’s what I saw

  • The mysterious 33 Thomas Street, commonly known as the ‘Windowless Building’ has remained shrouded in secrecy for decades
  • A steamfitter who worked in the building in the early 2000’s told DailyMail.com there were off-limit areas of the building that were restricted for all visitors
  • His crew once found confidential papers in a filing cabinet in the basement of the building regarding what to do with machines in case of a radiation attack

Nestled in the heart of lower Manhattan, the mysterious 33 Thomas Street, commonly known as the ‘Windowless Building’, has remained shrouded in secrecy for decades. 

This formidable skyscraper, devoid of windows and rising 550 feet into the skyline, has puzzled New Yorkers and intrigued passersby since its completion in 1974. 

Often regarded as one of the city’s oddest buildings, its true purpose has long been a subject of intrigue and speculation.

One man, who chose to remain anonymous for safety reasons, worked as a steamfitter – someone responsible for installing wiring and pipes carrying liquids and gases under high pressure – in the building with his son back in the early 2000’s. 

His son told Dailymail.com his father and crew were strictly forbidden to enter certain rooms in the building. There were off-limit areas of the building that were restricted for all visitors. No one was allowed to enter. 

The creepy and unsettling building stands out against those around it and has caught the eye of many confused passers-by


‘There were rooms we couldn’t get into. They specifically told us not to enter, and we couldn’t ask what’s inside or why we can’t go in,’ he said.  

The crew ultimately ended up having to install wires around the rooms, an unprecedented move in the field of steam fitting.  

Additionally, the crew once found what appeared to be confidential papers in a filing cabinet in the basement of the building. 

The classified information was regarding what to do with machines in case of a radiation attack. 

Since being built the windowless building functioned as AT&T’s long-distance telephone exchange until 1999, when the company moved elsewhere. 

Today, the windowless skyscraper is still sometimes used for its original purpose of telephone switching by some local exchange carriers.

Other areas of the building are reportedly used as a high security datacenter. 

It’s now more commonly known as 33 Thomas Street, rather than the AT&T building or the Long Lines Building. 

Constructed under a cloak of secrecy, 33 Thomas Street was designed to withstand an atomic blast, according to an exclusive report about the building by The Intercept in 2016. 

Its 29 floors, including three basement levels, house enough supplies to sustain 1,500 people for two weeks during a catastrophe, The Intercept reported. 

After videos of the building were shared this week on Twitter and Reddit , commenters began to joke about what’s inside, with one person writing: ‘Gives off MI-6 vibes,’ and another joking ‘Lizard people don’t need windows’

It’s located at 33 Thomas Street in New York City and is also known as the Long Lines Building

It was designed and built between 1969 and 1974 to house AT&T (the American Telephone and Telegraph Company) telephone switching equipment – one of the most important telecommunications hubs in the USA

However, its primary objective was not to protect human lives but to safeguard critical telecommunications infrastructure.

Designed by John Carl Warnecke & Associates, the building’s vision was to create a communication fortress for the 20th century. 

New York Telephone Company, a subsidiary of AT&T, spearheaded the project. The skyscraper was a hub for processing long-distance phone calls and was touted as the largest of its kind in the world. 

The investigation by The Intercept, along with information obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed that 33 Thomas Street is more than just a telecommunications center. 

It appears to be a crucial National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance site, codenamed TITANPOINTE. 

While the documents do not explicitly name the building, architectural plans, public records, and interviews with former AT&T employees provide compelling evidence.

Inside the building, a former AT&T engineer revealed the existence of a major international ‘gateway switch,’ responsible for routing phone calls between the United States and countries worldwide. 

Top-secret NSA memos indicate that the agency has tapped into these calls from within 33 Thomas Street. 

This suggests that the skyscraper is a core location for a controversial NSA surveillance program targeting the communications of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries, including close U.S. allies like Germany, Japan, and France.

While AT&T’s cooperation with the NSA in surveillance has been known, the Snowden documents shed new light on the role of specific facilities at the time., 

They revealed how the NSA has integrated its equipment into AT&T’s network in New York City, offering insight into the methods and technology used to collect communications data.

Dailymail.com contacted AT&T for comment.  

Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice, stated, ‘This is yet more proof that our communications service providers have become, whether willingly or unwillingly, an arm of the surveillance state.’

She highlighted the need for vigilance, as the effects of such surveillance can extend beyond non-Americans.

Surrounded by other normal looking buildings, 33 Thomas Street stands out like a sore thumb, towering into the sky

The Intercept, alongside a multitude of conspiracy theorists, believe it’s a secret base of the NSA (National Security Agency)

The Intercept claims that, according to a former AT&T engineer, ‘there is a major international ‘gateway switch’ which routes phone calls between the United States and countries across the world’

Every few years, images and videos of the eerie skyscraper re-circulate on social media – back in 2017, even Tom Hanks tweeted: ‘This is the scariest building I’ve ever seen! WTF goes on inside??’

Videos of the building were shared recently on Twitter and Reddit, and commenters began to conspire about what’s inside, with one person writing: ‘Gives off MI-6 vibes,’ and another joking: ‘Lizard people don’t need windows.’

Some social media users lean into the wild theories, whereas others aren’t as convinced.

One Redditor wrote: ‘Probably data center and not occupied by people’ while another added: ‘It’s a telecom central office no big mystery at all, most major cities have several. It’s air conditioned due to the equipment.’

Meanwhile on Twitter, users theorized: ‘So is this where all the vampires live now?’ and: ‘Looks like something that should be in Dune.’

The vampire theory has proved popular, as users jested that they wouldn’t be able to work with sunlight coming in through the windows.

Others are convinced little green aliens and other extraterrestrial creatures are being hidden away from the world, behind the building’s eerie walls.

One user said: ‘This where they keep the aliens,’ and another added: ‘100% Lizard headquarters.’

Another guessed: ‘I believe it’s the headquarters of Men in Black,’ while someone else questioned: ‘Gotham city?,’ joking that the skyscraper belongs in Batman.

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