A glimpse into the New York netherworld

Saw this over the lunch hour while walking about. You’re looking at a photo of an open cellar in the sidewalk in front of the Forbidden Planet comic book shop. Some employee had opened the solid metal lid(s) that go over this hole and left it like this. You see this all the time in New York — gotta wonder how many lawsuits there are every year, with all these open pits waiting for oblivious pedestrians to fall in. They did at least put some orange traffic cones around the edge of the pit, as you can sort of see in this picture.

As I said, you see these pits in New York all the time, though I’m used to seeing ones that have simple masonry stair cases leading from the street down to the cellar floor. Sometimes, there’s an interesting sort of conveyor belt on that staircase, too, so that people topside can slide large boxes down it to someone waiting below.

This was the first one I’d seen — that I can remember, anyway — that had no staircase, but was just a straight vertical shaft with a simple elevator.

In retrospect, it’s so tempting to have just gone down in there and try to explore the cellar of a comic book store. (There was a door in one of the walls at the bottom of the shaft.)

However, I can just imagine the most likely outcome to such an escapade: the cellar door would have been locked, making your unauthorized descent a complete waste of time. And the cherry on top would have been that you wouldn’t have been able to climb back up to the street. You’d get to decide whether to cry out to passers-by, or to use your cell to call the store. “Um… I’m in your cellar? And, uh, I’d like to go home now? I promise I’ll buy a comic book.”

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