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The eerie truth about New York’s FAKE buildings: Inside the very mysterious structures spread throughout the city – and the sinister conspiracy theories that lurk behind their doors


If you’re taking a stroll through Brooklyn Heights, you may unknowingly stumble upon 58 Joralemon Street – one of New York City‘s many ‘fake buildings.’

On the outside, it looks like your average townhouse, but behind the rustic, red-brick façade lies a steel girder filled with various technologies that are vital for the function of New York City’s train system

Disguised as a stunning three-story family home in the heart of Brooklyn, hundreds of people pass it everyday unknowing that it’s actually all a front for a secret subway ventilation shaft.

And it turns out, it is only one of many ‘fake buildings’ that are located throughout the city.

Cash Jordan, a popular YouTuber who has become known for showcasing some of New York City's best kept secrets, recently visited some of the city's fake buildings

Cash Jordan, a popular YouTuber who has become known for showcasing some of New York City’s best kept secrets, recently visited some of the city’s fake buildings

Some of them are used to hide essential equipment needed to keeping the city running, but for others, their purpose has remained a mystery for decades

Some of them are used to hide essential equipment needed to keeping the city running, but for others, their purpose has remained a mystery for decades

Most notable is 33 Thomas Street - a massive, window-less skyscraper that was originally built by AT&T as a telephone switch center and is now believed to be a secret NSA base

Most notable is 33 Thomas Street – a massive, window-less skyscraper that was originally built by AT&T as a telephone switch center and is now believed to be a secret NSA base

Cash Jordan, a popular YouTuber who has become known for showcasing some of New York City’s best kept secrets, recently visited five of the city’s counterfeit buildings. 

He documented his trip and uploaded the footage to his account, where it quickly went viral, gaining more than 563,000 views in a matter of days.

Like 58 Joralemon Street, some are used to hide essential equipment needed to keeping the city running. 

Cash explained, ‘The purpose of a fake building is to blend in with the surrounding area so that residents don’t notice and so it doesn’t bring down property values.

Take a look at all of the phoney structures in NYC and uncover what each one is really used for

Take a look at all of the phoney structures in NYC and uncover what each one is really used for

‘In New York City, there’s so much going on that we need things like fake buildings to hold it together.’

But for some of the fake buildings, their purpose has remained a mystery for decades – sparking a slew of conspiracy theories which range from secret spy bases to places where the government conducts experiments or houses aliens.

Most notable is 33 Thomas Street – a massive, window-less skyscraper that was originally built by AT&T as a telephone switch center. 

But ever since the phone company stopped using it in the late ’90s, its been unknown what goes on behind the towering concrete walls, resulting in it becoming the subject of immense intrigue and speculation.

There’s rumors that it’s used as a storage site for supplies in case of an emergency, while other reports have claimed that it’s a surveillance site for the National Security Agency.

Luckily for us, Cash went to visit it – as well as the other fake buildings across the city – for himself, and shared his findings. 

Take a look at all of the phoney structures in NYC and uncover what each one is really used for.

58 Joralemon Street in Brooklyn may look like a townhouse, but it’s actually all a front

The first fake building that Cash visited was at 58 Joralemon Street, which sits just blocks away from the piers on the East River in a stunning Brooklyn neighborhood

The first fake building that Cash visited was at 58 Joralemon Street, which sits just blocks away from the piers on the East River in a stunning Brooklyn neighborhood

While on the outside it was made to look like 'your typical townhouse,' it's actually all a front - and behind the rustic red-brick façade lies a gaping void of nothing whatsoever

While on the outside it was made to look like ‘your typical townhouse,’ it’s actually all a front – and behind the rustic red-brick façade lies a gaping void of nothing whatsoever

The first fake building that Cash visited was at 58 Joralemon Street, which sits just blocks away from the piers on the East River in a stunning Brooklyn neighborhood.

While on the outside it was made to look like ‘your typical townhouse,’ it’s actually all a front – and behind the rustic red-brick façade lies a gaping void of nothing whatsoever

‘The building was originally constructed in 1847 as a private residence,’ Cash explained.

‘And for about 60 years, people lived here. But that all changed in 1907 when it was purchased by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company.’

The IRT is the company that was behind the original underground subway in New York City.

As the train system was being built, the organization decided to buy the house at 58 Joralemon Street – which is located right above the 4 and 5 line – knocked it down, and built a steel girder in its place.

Cash explained that it was originally built in 1847 as a private residence but was bought by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in 1907, who was building the subway system

Cash explained that it was originally built in 1847 as a private residence but was bought by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in 1907, who was building the subway system

The building is located right above the 4 and 5 line, and it now serves as a secret emergency subway exit and a ventilation point, while being disguised as a stunning family home

The building is located right above the 4 and 5 line, and it now serves as a secret emergency subway exit and a ventilation point, while being disguised as a stunning family home

While on first glance it seems like all the other townhouses on the street, there are some clues that reveal its true purpose if you look a little more closely

While on first glance it seems like all the other townhouses on the street, there are some clues that reveal its true purpose if you look a little more closely

Cash pointed out that the 'windows are fully blacked out' and the door looks like it 'wasn't designed to be opened by mere mortals.' There's also a big 'metal hatch' at the base

Cash pointed out that the 'windows are fully blacked out' and the door looks like it 'wasn't designed to be opened by mere mortals.' There's also a big 'metal hatch' at the base

Cash pointed out that the ‘windows are fully blacked out’ and the door looks like it ‘wasn’t designed to be opened by mere mortals.’ There’s also a big ‘metal hatch’ at the base

It now serves as a secret emergency subway exit and a ventilation point, while being disguised as a stunning three-story family home in the heart of Brooklyn. 

‘Since the subway consists of long tunnels with air moving through it, you’ve gotta vent the air out somehow,’ Cash dished.

‘They couldn’t just put a vent there because there was already something here. So the people building the subway bought the building and completely hollowed out the interior. It’s a ventilation shaft.

‘It also doubles as an emergency exit for the subways underneath it. That means if you’re on the 4 or 5 trains and there’s a reason to evacuate, you might find yourself in this neighborhood.’ 

While on first glance it seems like all the other townhouses on the street, there are some clues that reveal its true purpose if you look a little more closely.

Cash pointed out that the ‘windows are fully blacked out’ and the door looks like it ‘wasn’t designed to be opened by mere mortals.’ There’s also a big ‘metal hatch’ at the base.

A reporter for Brooklyn Eagle got a chance to venture inside the building – which is now owned by the New York City Transit Authority – back in 2010.

He described it as a ‘windowless room with a door’ filled with ‘utility boxes and ventilation shafts.’

Strecker Memorial Laboratory on Roosevelt Island was once a lab used for ‘pathological research’ and it’s now owned by the MTA

Next up on Cash's list was Strecker Memorial Laboratory on Roosevelt Island - a building that was used as a laboratory during the 1900s, but is now owned by the MTA

Next up on Cash’s list was Strecker Memorial Laboratory on Roosevelt Island – a building that was used as a laboratory during the 1900s, but is now owned by the MTA

On the outside, the gray brick building with round windows, brown roofing, and a blue door looks welcoming and bright, but what goes on inside is a mystery to the public

On the outside, the gray brick building with round windows, brown roofing, and a blue door looks welcoming and bright, but what goes on inside is a mystery to the public

On the outside, the gray brick building with round windows, brown roofing, and a blue door looks welcoming and bright, but what goes on inside is a mystery to the public

It was first constructed in 1892 as a laboratory for a nearby hospital, where they conducted 'experiments' for 'pathological and bacteriological research'

It was first constructed in 1892 as a laboratory for a nearby hospital, where they conducted ‘experiments’ for ‘pathological and bacteriological research’

Next up on Cash’s list was Strecker Memorial Laboratory on Roosevelt Island – a building that was used as a laboratory during the 1900s, but is now owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

On the outside, the gray brick building with round windows, brown roofing, and a blue door looks welcoming and bright, but what goes on inside is a mystery to the public.

It was first constructed in 1892 as a laboratory for a nearby hospital, where they conducted ‘experiments’ for ‘pathological and bacteriological research.’

‘Apparently it had an autopsy room, which is creepy,’ Cash shared.

The lab was used up until the 1950s, when it closed - and it remained abandoned until 2000, when the MTA transformed it into a 'power conversion substation' for the trains

The lab was used up until the 1950s, when it closed – and it remained abandoned until 2000, when the MTA transformed it into a ‘power conversion substation’ for the trains

As Cash investigated the building, he noticed a 'crazy humming' sound coming from inside. He was also able to spot some 'interesting equipment' through the windows

As Cash investigated the building, he noticed a ‘crazy humming’ sound coming from inside. He was also able to spot some ‘interesting equipment’ through the windows

The lab was used up until the 1950s, when it closed – and for five decades, it remained completely abandoned.

But in 2000, the MTA scooped it up and transformed it into a ‘power conversion substation’ for the trains.

As Cash investigated the building, he noticed a ‘crazy humming’ sound coming from inside. He was also able to spot some ‘interesting equipment’ through the windows. 

‘I see these bizarre furnace things inside. And I hear a lot of fans coming from way up there,’ he said.

‘I don’t know what type of experiments they were doing over 100 years ago but now, there’s a lot of voltage running through here. The trains need power.’

Pier 34 in Manhattan looks like a factory but has a very important secret purpose

The third fake building that Cash visited was Pier 34 in Manhattan, which is a large, brown structure that sits in the middle of the Hudson River

The third fake building that Cash visited was Pier 34 in Manhattan, which is a large, brown structure that sits in the middle of the Hudson River

The mysterious establishment looks like a factory from the outside. But it turns out, it's actually not a manufacturing facility at all - and it has a very important purpose

The mysterious establishment looks like a factory from the outside. But it turns out, it’s actually not a manufacturing facility at all – and it has a very important purpose

The third fake building that Cash visited was Pier 34 in Manhattan, which is a large, brown structure that sits in the middle of the Hudson River.

Accessible by two long piers that have entrances at Canal and Spring Street along the West Side Highway in the lower area of the city, the mysterious establishment looks like a factory from the outside.

But it turns out, it’s actually not a manufacturing facility at all – and it has a very important purpose. 

‘You’re probably wondering why there’s a fake building in the middle of the river,’ Cash said in his video. 

‘Well the reason that it’s [over the river] is because it has to be. It can’t be on land because [its purpose] is under the water.’

Beneath the massive four walls there is actually a vent for the Holland Tunnel, which connects New Jersey and New York

Beneath the massive four walls there is actually a vent for the Holland Tunnel, which connects New Jersey and New York

'100,000 cars drive [through the Holland] a day, and the only reason they can is because inside here, we've got massive fans that force air into the tunnel and suck air out,' Cash shared

‘100,000 cars drive [through the Holland] a day, and the only reason they can is because inside here, we’ve got massive fans that force air into the tunnel and suck air out,’ Cash shared

Beneath the massive four walls there is actually a vent for the Holland Tunnel, which connects New Jersey and New York. 

‘Deep beneath the clear blue waters of the Hudson River is the Holland tunnel. According to the map, it is directly below us,’ Cash continued.

‘At the time that the tunnel was built, experts thought it was impossible to have a two mile long tunnel because all the fumes from the car [would be trapped] in the tunnel, they can only escape on either end. You’ve gotta have ventilation.

‘100,000 cars drive into Manhattan a day [through the Holland], and 34 million people a year make this trip, so the tunnel is a big deal. 

‘And the only reason it can do that is because inside here, we’ve got massive fans that force air into the tunnel and suck air out.’

The building in Mulry Square in Manhattan is vital for ‘the healthy functioning of the subway’

After that, Cash headed to Mulry Square in Manhattan, located at the corner of 11th Street and 7th Avenue, where another fake building sits

After that, Cash headed to Mulry Square in Manhattan, located at the corner of 11th Street and 7th Avenue, where another fake building sits

This one is also owned by the MTA, and while what goes on inside is not fully known, it is said that it 'relates to the healthy functioning of the subway'

This one is also owned by the MTA, and while what goes on inside is not fully known, it is said that it ‘relates to the healthy functioning of the subway’

After that, Cash headed to Mulry Square in Manhattan, located at the corner of 11th Street and 7th Avenue, where another fake building sits.

This one is also owned by the MTA, and while what goes on inside is not fully known, it is said that it ‘relates to the healthy functioning of the subway.’

Cash pointed out that the company ‘didn’t do a very good job’ of disguising this one, since the façade ‘doesn’t even extend to all of the sides.’

The immense concrete walls of the building are completely windowless, and one side contains a fake brick front that looks unfinished.

Cash pointed out that the company 'didn't do a very good job' of disguising this one, since the façade 'doesn't even extend to all of the sides'

Cash pointed out that the company ‘didn’t do a very good job’ of disguising this one, since the façade ‘doesn’t even extend to all of the sides’

Before the structure was built, the area was used as a 9/11 memorial. The MTA decided to keep some of the original fencing and memorial artwork

Before the structure was built, the area was used as a 9/11 memorial. The MTA decided to keep some of the original fencing and memorial artwork

It’s also ‘incredibly noisy,’ according to the social media star.

‘To me, this just looks like an unfinished disaster. I don’t think they did a very good job of hiding the fakeness of this fake building,’ he said.

Before the structure was built, the area was used as a 9/11 memorial, which is why when the company announced they would be constructing it in 2007, it was ‘highly contested.’

‘There was a lot of back and forth between local community boards, local preservation groups, and the city,’ revealed Cash.

In the end, the MTA decided to keep some of the original fencing and memorial artwork.

A mysterious skyscraper with no windows at 33 Thomas Street is believed to be the home of a secret NSA base

Last on Cash's list of fake buildings was 33 Thomas Street - a mysterious, 40-story skyscraper that has left many New Yorkers baffled and has long been the subject of speculation

Last on Cash’s list of fake buildings was 33 Thomas Street – a mysterious, 40-story skyscraper that has left many New Yorkers baffled and has long been the subject of speculation

Located in the Tribeca neighborhood of lower Manhattan, the concrete structure was first built in 1969 by AT&T and acted as 'a telephone switching center' up until the late '90s

Located in the Tribeca neighborhood of lower Manhattan, the concrete structure was first built in 1969 by AT&T and acted as ‘a telephone switching center’ up until the late ’90s

Last on Cash’s list of fake buildings was the now-infamous 33 Thomas Street – a mysterious, 40-story skyscraper that has left many New Yorkers baffled and has long been the subject of intrigue and speculation.

Located in the Tribeca neighborhood of lower Manhattan, the concrete structure was first built in 1969 by AT&T and acted as ‘a telephone switching center’ up until the late ’90s. And since then, it has been shrouded in secrecy. 

The towering building stands out due to its lack of windows – as well as the immense security surrounding it – leading many to wonder what on earth goes on inside.

Posts about it have gone viral on social media on numerous occasions, sparking a slew of wild theories surrounding its purpose. 

It even once caught the attention of actor Tom Hanks, who tweeted, ‘This is the scariest building I’ve ever seen! WTF goes on inside?’

Some think its a headquarters for secret government experiments or where they store aliens or creatures, while others have suggested that it’s a spy base – and according to an investigation by The Intercept, the latter is actually not too far off.

‘It looks straight out of a science fiction movie,’ Cash said in his video. ‘It’s 550-feet tall, it has 29 floors.

The towering building stands out due to its lack of windows - as well as the immense security surrounding it - leading many to wonder what on earth goes on inside

The towering building stands out due to its lack of windows – as well as the immense security surrounding it – leading many to wonder what on earth goes on inside 

So what is it used for today? Well, since AT&T stopped using it as a call center in 1999, its purpose has not been known

So what is it used for today? Well, since AT&T stopped using it as a call center in 1999, its purpose has not been known

‘[What goes on inside is] highly secretive and the subject of many conspiracy theories. It doesn’t have any windows. It only has vents to circulate air.’

So what is it used for today? Well, since AT&T stopped using it as a call center in 1999, its purpose has not been known.

Some have said that since the skyscraper was designed to withstand a nuclear blast, it now stores enough food and supplies to keep 1,500 people alive for two weeks in the event of a catastrophe. 

In 2016, however, The Intercept launched a major investigation into the building, and they claimed to have uncovered a series of leaked documents that indicated that it had been turned into a secret base for the NSA.

The outlet said they had ‘compelling evidence’ that 33 Thomas Street served as an NSA surveillance site, code-named TITANPOINTE, which was used for spying on phone calls, fax messages and Internet data.

The NSA declined to give a comment to The Intercept on the investigation and what really goes on behind the building’s doors remains a mystery. 

In 2016, The Intercept launched an investigation into the building, and they claimed to have uncovered leaked documents that indicated it had been turned into a secret base for the NSA

In 2016, The Intercept launched an investigation into the building, and they claimed to have uncovered leaked documents that indicated it had been turned into a secret base for the NSA

Another odd thing about the building is that while it measures 40 stories high, it actually only has 29 floors since there’s so much space between each one. 

‘Apparently, the ceilings inside of here are 18-feet tall and the floors can hold 300 pounds of force per square foot,’ Cash shared. ‘So you can move really large and heavy things around in there.’ 

‘Look at it, it’s like an impenetrable fortress. There’s this massive retaining wall, cameras everywhere. 

‘And it’s kind of eerie, it’s so big but there’s no people [going in or out], there’s nothing going on here.

‘A massive building with no windows and tons of security everywhere, and nobody coming in and out, this is the perfect place to hide and do things that you really want to keep a secret.’

A man who worked construction on the building in the early 2000s spoke to DailyMail.com about what he saw earlier this month.

The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said he and the rest of the crew were strictly forbidden to enter certain rooms in the building.

‘There were rooms we couldn’t get into. They specifically told us not to enter, and we couldn’t ask what’s inside or why we can’t go in,’ he shared. 

He said he once came across confidential papers in a filing cabinet in the basement of the building that regarded what to do with machines in case of a radiation attack. 



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