The Joy of Trapdoors

picture 171 The Joy of Trapdoors

Don't trip on the trap (NY Times)

Although The Observer has only been privileged of seeing the kind of trap door found on the bottom of an infant’s onesie, there are some New Yorkers who have, in fact, encountered the real deal.

Secret passageways, trap doors and hidden rooms are no longer reserved for the sets of movies.  There are actual New York City residences, stretching from the Upper East Side all the way to Park Slope, The Times reports, whose blueprints don’t reveal all.

Perhaps most well known is the underground tunnel lurking beneath Riverside Drive’s Schinasi Mansion, where an underground tunnel leads to the Hudson.  But there are others, as well, such as the mini cellar hidden beneath the floorboards of Eric Schiller’s staircase, most likely a remnant of the Prohibition Era.

While many of these stowaway spaces no longer serve their original purpose, who’s to say that they can’t find a renewed sense of meaning?  While we agree with The Times when they say, “hiding the family silver or keeping servants out of sight… are less relevant today,” The Observer can think of a long list of people and things that could benefit from being routinely tucked away (younger siblings, a guilty pleasure, or maybe an illegal one, just to name a few).

A secret closet was recently discovered in the master bedroom of an apartment on East 67th Street, after being hidden behind a brocade for decades. And to think: If R. Kelly lived in the penthouse of the Milan House, he might never have escaped the closet.

kcarter@observer.com