"Up and Then Down," Nick Paumgarten's New Yorker feature on elevators, is centered around Nicholas White’s ordeal of being trapped in an elevator for 41 hours after he left his office at Business Week to go downstairs for a cigarette. The article is accompanied by an extraordinary time-lapse video of White in his cage, rattling back and forth like a trapped insect:
At a certain point, he decided to open the doors. He pried them apart and held them open with his foot. He was presented with a cinder-block wall on which, perfectly centered, were scrawled three “13”s–one in chalk, one in red paint, one in black. It was a dispiriting sight. He concluded that he must be on the thirteenth floor, and that, this being an express elevator, there was no egress from the shaft anywhere for many stories up or down. (Such a shaft is known as a blind hoistway.) He peered down through the crack between the wall and the sill of the elevator and saw that it was very dark. He could make out some light at the bottom. It looked far away. A breeze blew up the shaft.
He started to call out. “Hello?” He tried cupping his hand to his mouth and yelled out some more. “Help! Is there anybody there? I’m stuck in an elevator!” He kept at it for a while.
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