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 intrigued New Yorkers and intrigued passersby since its completion in 1974.
Often considered one of the city’s strangest buildings, its true purpose has long been the subject of intrigue and speculation.
A 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 at early 2000s.
His son told Dailymail.com that his father and his team were strictly prohibited from entering certain rooms in the building. Certain areas of the building were off limits to all visitors. No one was allowed in.
The creepy and eerie building stood out from those around it and attracted the attention of many confused passersby.
“There were rooms we couldn’t get into. They specifically told us not to go in, and we couldn’t ask what was inside or why we couldn’t go in,” he said.
The team ultimately had to install cables around the rooms, a move unprecedented in the field of steam installations.
Additionally, the team one day found what appeared to be confidential papers in a filing cabinet in the basement of the building.
The classified information concerned what to do with the machines in the event of a radioactive attack.
Since its construction, the windowless building served 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 as telephone switching by some local service carriers.
Other areas of the building would be used as a high-security data center.
It is now more commonly known as 33 Thomas Street, rather than the AT&T Building or the Long Lines Building.
Built under a cloak of secrecy, 33 Thomas Street was designed to withstand an atomic blast, according to an exclusive report on the building by The Intercept in 2016.
Its 29 floors, including three basements, house enough supplies to feed 1,500 people for two weeks in the event of a disaster, The Intercept reported.
After videos of the building were shared this week on Twitter and Reddit, commenters began joking about what was inside, with one person writing: “It gives off MI-6 vibes,” and another quipping “Lizard people don’t need windows.”
It is located at 33 Thomas Street in New York and is also known as the Long Lines Building.
It was designed and built between 1969 and 1974 to house the telephone switching equipment of AT&T (the American Telephone and Telegraph Company) – one of the most important telecommunications centers in the United States.
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 communications fortress for the 20th century.
The New York Telephone Company, a subsidiary of AT&T, led the project. The skyscraper was a hub for handling long-distance telephone calls and was billed as the largest of its kind in the world.
The Intercept’s investigation, 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 called TITANPOINTE.
Although 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” responsible for routing phone calls between the United States and countries around the world.
Top-secret NSA memos indicate the agency operated these calls from 33 Thomas Street.
This suggests the skyscraper is a central 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 US allies. United States such as Germany, Japan and France.
Although AT&T’s cooperation with the NSA on surveillance is known, the Snowden documents shed new light on the role of specific facilities at the time.
They revealed how the NSA integrated its equipment into AT&T’s network in New York, providing insight into the methods and technology used to collect communications data.
Dailymail.com has contacted AT&T for comment.
Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said: “This is further evidence that our communications service providers have become, willingly or unwittingly, an arm of the surveillance state. »
She stressed the need for vigilance, as the effects of such surveillance may extend beyond non-Americans.
Surrounded by other normal-looking buildings, 33 Thomas Street sticks out like a sore thumb, dominating the sky.
The Intercept, alongside a host of conspiracy theorists, believes this is a secret NSA (National Security Agency) base.
The Intercept claims that, according to a former AT&T engineer, “there is a major international ‘gateway switch’ that routes phone calls between the United States and countries around the world.”
Every few years, images and videos of this strange skyscraper circulate on social media. In 2017, even Tom Hanks tweeted: “This is the scariest building I’ve ever seen!” WTF is happening inside??’
Videos of the building were shared recently on Twitter and Reddit, and commenters began to conspire about what was inside, with one person writing: “It gives off MI-6 vibes,” and one another joked: “Lizard people don’t need windows.”
Some social media users are turning to wild theories, while others aren’t so convinced.
One Reddit author wrote: “Probably a data center and isn’t occupied by people,” while another added: “It’s a central telecommunications office, not a big mystery , most large cities have several. It’s air conditioned because of the equipment.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, users speculated: “So this is where all the vampires live now?” and: “It looks like something that should be in Dune.” »
The vampire theory proved popular, with users joking that they wouldn’t be able to work with sunlight coming in through the windows.
Others are convinced that little green aliens and other alien creatures are hidden from the world, behind the strange walls of the building.
One user said: “This is where they keep the aliens,” and another added: “100% Lizard Headquarters.”
Another guessed, “I think this is the Men in Black headquarters,” while someone else asked, “Gotham City?” “, joking that the skyscraper belongs to Batman.