Riding a Time Capsule to Apartment 8G has some great stories about and pictures of some of the old, manually operated passenger elevators around town.
Looking at the pictures reminded me of helping a friend move from his apartment to his girlfriend’s in the same building on West 69th. The super, perhaps mistakenly, entrusted us with the manual service elevator–without supervision.
After our last trip, we decided to see how far up the elevator could go. It abruptly stopped halfway between floors and wouldn’t move up or down. We both crawled out, I stood guard so nobody fell in the gap while my friend ran down to the super’s apartment. The super was remarkably chill about the whole thing, he just went down the basement reset something and went back to his apartment to watch football. We surmised that this wasn’t the first (or last) time a couple of jackasses pushed the old elevator beyond its limits.
Photo from The New York Times