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Urban Giants: The Legacy of Two NYC Communication Hubs

June 25, 2014  |  Written by Blake Mitchell, Director of Marketing

Between 1928 and 1932, Western Union and AT&T built two of the most advanced telecommunications buildings in the world at 60 Hudson Street and 32 Avenue of the Americas in Lower Manhattan. Nearly a century later, the Western Union building and AT&T Long Lines building remain among the world's finest Art Deco towers—and cornerstones of global communication. 

That rich connection and infrastructure is exactly why Telx chose to expand in New York City last year with its NYC3 data center, housed within the AT&T Long Lines building on 32 Avenue of the Americas. NYC3 is now part of the Telx family here in Manhattan along with NYC1 at 60 Hudson Street (formerly known as the Western Union building), and NYC2 at 111 8th Ave. All of these data centers together take advantage of the elaborate infrastructure laid out when these beautiful, and monumental, buildings were first constructed and they continue to enable connectivity and interconnection to our entire customer base.

We here at Telx are proud of the rich history of these landmark buildings and that we are also part of their legacy as we continue to use them for their original intention: working day to day as communication hubs for customers all over the world. To celebrate that history, we’ve commissioned “Urban Giants,” a 9-minute film that details their birth, evolution and continued use.

When the Western Union and AT&T Long Lines buildings were built in the early 1930s, New York was already the largest city in the United States. As the largest city in the nation and the financial capital of the US, New York also had the most telephones of any city in the entire world. With that excess of telephones came a need for communication hubs to filter traffic—exactly what these two buildings came to provide.

Because they were built from the ground up to serve New York as communication hubs, both the Western Union and AT&T Long Lines buildings were constructed with a robust infrastructure. Each building has incredibly strong foundations and rich connections throughout the city. Western Union needed to communicate with AT&T’s network—which it used for its long-distance telegraphs—and thus laid the framework for the incredible infrastructure radiating from these buildings today.

As the film notes, the Western Union and AT&T Long Lines buildings are not monuments to a vanished age; they’re contributing directly to the recycling life of the city. They remain the central switchboards of our telecom culture; home to 400 carriers serving 600+ data networks—among the most richly connected buildings in the world.

If you have any questions relating to the film or any of the services we offer here at Telx, don’t be afraid to reach out via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter.

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