IT sounds like something out of a dime novel, or maybe a Nicolas Cage film. Behind the mute facade of a largely windowless neo-Gothic tower lies an ingenious system of steel vaults traveling on rails. Within those armored containers, which have been in continuous use since the Jazz Age, are stored some of New York City’s most precious objects and, presumably, a good number of its darkest secrets.
This building actually exists, and you will find it on an otherwise unremarkable stretch of Second Avenue, just north of the end of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. It is the Day & Meyer, Murray & Young warehouse, and since it opened in 1928 it has been the storage building of choice for many of New York’s wealthiest families, most prestigious art dealers and grandest museums.
The company’s early client list reads like a condensation of the New York Social Register, with names like Astor and Auchincloss, du Pont and Guggenheim, Havemeyer and Vanderbilt prominent. The press baron William Randolph Hearst stored entire rooms bought in Europe there during the construction of his castle at San Simeon, Calif.
Congrats to Mark for the story, and another job well done.