The New Yorker turns in a fun, New Yorker-ish look at elevators, the unsung heroes of the environmentally-friendly urban lifestyle:
> Two things make tall buildings possible: the steel frame and the safety elevator. The elevator, underrated and overlooked, is to the city what paper is to reading and gunpowder is to war. Without the elevator, there would be no verticality, no density, and, without these, none of the urban advantages of energy efficiency, economic productivity, and cultural ferment. The population of the earth would ooze out over its surface, like an oil slick, and we would spend even more time stuck in traffic or on trains, traversing a vast carapace of concrete. And the elevator is energy-efficient — the counterweight does a great deal of the work, and the new systems these days regenerate electricity. The elevator is a hybrid, by design.
That’s about the only item in the article to address environmental issues, but it’s chock full of interesting tidbits, including this: if you’ve ever suspected that the close-door button doesn’t do anything, you’re right. It doesn’t. Knowing this makes it much more fun to watch other people press it.