Skyscraper for Cars
Did you know two 25-story Art Deco Midtown Manhattan buildings were originally built to house cars, not people?
In 1928 Milton A. Kent built a 24-story high-rise garage at 209 East 43rd Street, an automatic "Hotel for Automobiles" that could hold a thousand cars! Customers could park in a curbside elevator and the car would be transferred onto a network of rails that would find an open parking spot somewhere in the building. As the New York Times described in 1930, “An electric carriage was sent out from the elevator and operating on a belt placed under the car. The rear of the car was raised and it was pulled to the elevator and lifted to the proper floor, where the electric carriage sent it out to a parking space and was then returned to the elevator.” Customers paid 50 cents for the first two hours, then 5 cents for every hour after. Today the landmarked structure is an apartment building. Kent built a second garage on Columbus and 61st in 1930, which is used by Fordham University today.