In one novel called Foucault’s Pendulum, we watch two characters talk about a house that does not appear to be real. That people walk merrily passed a house in Paris but do not know the real truth, that the house is completely fake. There are just two walls, an entire facade: an enclosure with no room or no interior at all. And actually, it is a huge chimney, a big ventilation pipe for the Paris Metro system. A whole house dedicated to releasing the vapors of the underground. Once you know this secret, well it feels as if you have found the entrance into the underworld. But is there actually some truth behind this novel?
In New York, there is such a house that acts as what is known as the Greek Revival subway ventilator. There on 58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn you will find a house with blacked out windows and a very unresponsive looking front door. And this house has been a ventilator for the New York subway since 1847 without anyone really being wiser, you could easily walk past and think it to be just another house. At one point in 1908, it also housed a whole range of electrical equipment that was used to power a whole section of the Brooklyn underground.
When you think about, disguised entrances into the underworld of New York really are pretty fascinating and though they are quite rare it is not the only one. These vents happen to be build all around New York City.
The Holland Tunnel is a particular famous building that is just a vent for the subway, it houses over 84 fans. Apparently, at full speed, it is able to change the air in the tunnels completely in under 90 seconds.