A.V. Club

Great Job, Internet!: A spooky tour of New York’s hidden, crumbling library apartments

Chipped paint, peeling wallpaper, fading decals, and dangerous dumbwaiters. That’s about all that’s left of the clandestine apartments that were built into many of New York City’s public libraries decades ago. Atlas Obscura’s Sarah Laskow gives readers a guided tour of these haunted and haunting locations in an eerie but affectionate article called “Inside The New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments.” Why would libraries even need on-site apartments? When philanthropic fat cat Andrew Carnegie bankrolled the New York library system a century ago, the large buildings were heated by coal-burning furnaces that had to stay lit at all times. The apartments were intended for custodians who would live there, either alone or with their families, to make sure those furnaces never went out. So it was sort of like The Shining, only with way more books. As technology improved, the need for live-in custodians …

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