Inside NYC’s “Internet Hotels,” Where Online Infrastructure Lives in High Rise Buildings

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-5Photo by Peter Garritano

In 2013, we took a look inside one of New York City’s data centers, the Sabey Intergate Manhattan Center (in the former Verizon building downtown), the tallest high rise data center in the world. This facility connects to what are known as “data hotels,” recently featured in Wired. Photographer Peter Garritano spent five months visiting the five data hotels in New York City, capturing the network of wires, servers, cables and more that make the internet work.

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-6Photo by Peter Garritano

At a carrier hotel, networks that provide connectivity like Google, Verizon, and AT&T connect together and work together when it is mutually beneficial. Carrier hotels also cater to businesses who store the online software run by other companies. The Wired article names Telyx and Zayo as carrier hotel operators, but two locations refused to be disclosed. Logically, security is high at these types of places. The Sabey data center, for example, is monitored by CCTV, with biometric and card access. The building is guarded by NYPD and Homeland Security because it’s within 1 Police Plaza.

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-2Photo by Peter Garritano

One of the noted carrier hotels is located at 60 Hudson Street, the iconic Western Union building just near the World Trade Center. With Guastavino tiling and an Art Deco lobby, it is certainly one of the more unique in the mix. The official website of 60 Hudson Street shares its priorities in the telecommunications industry, with latest improvements including a cooling tower. Work is underway to add 240,000 more square feet of high-density data space inside.

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-17Inside 60 Hudson Street. Photo by Peter Garritano

As Garritano tells Wired, “On a basic level, I hope this series can help communicate that reality and illustrate the various systems required for the Internet to function. That is, the massive amounts of power required, the cooling systems, the enormously complex system of cable connections, and of course, the people who design and maintain these systems.” Indeed, from the photographs, you see the nondescript infrastructure that’s behind the internet and the effort it takes to keep everything going.

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-3Photo by Peter Garritano

Wires go out of the carrier hotels through underground vaults heading to connections close by or across the Atlantic Ocean even. There are back up systems and cooling systems, a control room monitors all the activity, and like the Sabey data center, some also have their own electric substation inside.

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-7Photo by Peter Garritano

Internet Hotels-Data Center-NYC-Peter Garritano-Photography-16Where extra equipment and diesel fuel are stored in case of disaster. Photo by Peter Garritano

Next, check out the inside of Sabey Intergate Manhattan, the tallest data center in the world. See more photographs of internet hotels on the website of Peter Garritano.

 60 Hudson Street, Internet Hotels, Sabey Intergate

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