Pneumatic tube system discovered by an Untapped Cities reader on 86th and Lexington Avenue
Untapped Cities Twitter follower, @justinr592, submitted this photograph he snapped of a pneumatic tube system from his office on 86th Street and Lexington Avenue. He also tweeted, “From the pneumatic tube map you have up, it seems like the Gracie [Mansion] area. Hmm…”
The 27-mile pneumatic system in New York City delivered the mail 4 to 6 feet underground in the first half of the 20th century. The system in @justinr592’s building looks a lot newer than that (vintage photo here) and we got some clues from the red label, which leads to TH Hammerl Inc., a company still in business that specializes in pneumatic tube systems! Their systems travel at 25 feet per second, about 17 miles/hour, which is about half the speed of the original mail system. This makes sense considering that TH Hammerl’s systems are placed predominantly in buildings and warehouses.
Although most people are interested in discovering remnants of the original system, more modern pneumatic systems have been reported in New York City, including in the H.H. Wilson Headquarters (now Tuck-It-Away Storage), with the famous lighthouse on top of the building.