If you need any more proof that the rich are nothing like us, have a look at the facility they send their cast-offs to when their walk-in closets get too full. Located on an Upper East Side block at 1166 2nd Avenue is a pretty spectacular building erected in a neo-Gothic style. While the whole setting would appear to be the perfect recipe for luxury living (a storied building in a prime location?), don’t expect find condos or even office space here. In fact, since 1928, this 15-story construction has been the destination for wealthy New Yorkers to store their most precious objects. As the Daily News writes, everyone from William Randolph Hearst to the Astors to Walter Cronkite and Whoopi Goldberg have stowed their possessions within its steel vaults.
Called the Day & Meyer, Murray & Young Warehouse, this beautiful piece of architecture was designed by Moores & Dunford, a top design firm from a bygone era. The structure was built to include a system of tracks and freight elevators that would allow workers to move the facility’s one-ton storage vaults, called Portovaults, with ease. According to a piece published in Times back in 2011, “The innovation [at the time] was that it could be delivered to the door of a client on the firm’s armored Diamond T truck, loaded, locked and then returned to the warehouse.” They add that “Inspection was also engineered to be a pleasant experience. Clients could wait in that handsome lobby while their Portovault unit was taken down to a heated room in the basement. There, they could rummage through their things in comfort. ‘No hunting around in a cold warehouse,’ an ad promised.”
The same technology is still used at the location today, and as in the past, expert movers manage the packing and delivery of goods to the facility. Basically, a client points out what they want put away, and Day & Meyer, Murray & Young takes care of everything. “We do a lot of hand-holding,” said office director Carol Gross to the Daily News. This is on top of fact that the building boasts climate control, strict inventory and access regulation, fireproof storage, and a sophisticated security system—truly what makes them different from other storage companies in the city.
Surprisingly, the cost of all of this is relatively low, especially for the offer. A Portovault storage unit (measuring about 7 feet x 7 feet x 11 feet) runs just $325 a month. What you’d pay the movers and warehouse workers is also surprisingly inexpensive; warehouse labor is charged at $55 per man per hour, while vans are charged at $60 per hour.
In total, the building holds more than 500 units, many of which are now used by art galleries, auction houses and interior decorators.
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Images courtesy of Day & Meyer, Murray & Young unless otherwise noted
Neighborhoods : Upper East Side