It’s common to see freight elevators (like the elevator museum!) open directly to the street in New York City, but what about a private elevator?
117 Spring Street in Soho appears to have just that. Looking at the Department of Buildings record, the landmarked building has 5 floors and a cellar, with a unit per floor. Per the Artist in Residence Law, each unit must have one occupant be an artist certified by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.
Most likely though, this is an elevator is a remnant of the manufacturing days in Soho. It just stands out because of its decorated exterior. If you look up, there’s evidence of a existing or former shaftway. Next door, you can see the outline of what was another former elevator but has been bricked up:
Image via Google Maps
The Department of Buildings records also show that one elevator had been taken out of commission at 117 Spring Street, perhaps it’s this outdoor one. We wonder how many others in Soho are still working?