The Very Lower Manhattan Verizon *Central Office* – Revisited

I don’t know how the hell this didn’t get past my super-strict editorial standards.

I never said I knew everything about telecom, telephony and UC.

Anyways, let’s revisit this concrete of thing…

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Original page? I called this the “Corporate offices” – again what the hell was I thinking?

So I didn’t cross the Brooklyn Bridge till this past October, checked visiting the hipster boro for the first time on my bucket list. Visited the New York Transit Museum, and if you like city busses, commuter rails and trains, it’s recommended!

And with a quick research in the time, I assumed it was an office, because most central offices do not have windows. This one did, and does. However nearly year after I published this, because of hipsters and other art-tiests (like elitists) they don’t understand why central offices not needing windows. This powers most of Lower Manhattan, and since this posting, Verizon sold the building, to a real estate trust company, then bought back a few floors. A curtain wall was built in the upper levels.

Currently this REIT owns the building to lease out to data centers, since you know “the cloud” has similarities to the old telephone company.

I stand corrected. 

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Office Telephones: Comdial Impact Telephone – TD Bank – Midtown Manhattan, NY

This picture is hard to see due to the sunset (because the sun sets earlier among the tall buildings) and with sudden light changes, my camera doesn’t reflect it as well – thanks to the photographer – being me!

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This was taken at a TD Bank branch in Manhattan in the middle of New York City last weekend. This was one of the very few places that didn’t have Cisco IP telephones (Most of the Big Banks, the Hard Rock Cafe – where I had lunch, and stopped at an American Eagle Outfitters store in Times Square were the ones I saw Ciscos.)

This Comdial Impact 8312 telephone works on small Comdial KSU switches and probably is compatible with the Vertical systems as well. At one time, Comdial was very popular in the interconnect market.

I’m not sure what bank this was before, it could’ve been TD, before merging with the Maine based Banknorth many years ago.

Verizon Fiber Optic Truck – New York, NY

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This is a Verizon Fiber Optic maintenance truck with weekend warriors underneath the city streets in New York taken on Saturday the 18th. Around my neck of the woods, these trucks used to be labeled as the “Fiber Optic Field Lab” (New England Telephone side of NYNEX/Bell Atlantic later Verizon.) Not sure of New York Tel had the same decals.

Technology and services changed, and it’s not a surprise-surprise that they are trying to plug their FiOS service for the locals.

Avaya Telephone – Midtown Manhattan, NY

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Yesterday, I went to New York City on a bus trip to hang around Midtown Manhattan. We only about 6 or less hours to hang out, and we arrived and departed in the Midtown neighborhood. In this area of the City, other than Rockefeller Plaza, this business which I forget, not too far away from Times Square was the only Avaya based office phones. I walked by a few restaurants with Partners, but this was the only 4600 or 2400 set to find. I can’t tell which set due to this being a spur of the moment, and taking pictures with a DSLR with constant change of lighting faster than a New York Minute can create blurred or white out photos.

So what other sets I saw walking by…oh you know the company that rhymes with San Francisco? Yeah, I’ll show those later on.

 

 

[FOLLOW UP] Central Offices – The World Trade Center – New York, NY

AT&T’s YouTube channel for the vintage film from the Bell System issued an update on September 11th and the person that spoke in the beginning had described what the technological aftermath of the horrific day 11 years ago. “The Twins” was posted on YouTube a while back, but the information they put in the beginning is interesting to note.

Here is the video:

Central Offices – the World Trade Center – New York, NY

UPDATE: September 29th, 2012 – A Follow up video from AT&T describing the technological aftermath, click here to read and watch

In respect to September 11th, I am backdating this post on the 11th anniversary of the attacks.

There are some amazing junk on YouTube.  There is so many videos on YouTube related to telecommunications and telephony – in this case film from the good Ole Bell System.


In this very interesting (but so devastating at the same time) the Bell System had done a film presentation of the installation of telephone switches at then new World Trade Center in 1973. The film described the process of the construction, the installation of the various switching and carrier systems and at the end of the film the workers at the WTC in production state.

The equipment had changed, they eventually switched over to ESS styled switching and went to data and other earlier Internet connectivity services. There was data services for the upper levels of Twin Towers, since many of the Wall Street trading floors were located there, and the New York Stock Exchange’s primary/backup location was at the WTC complex.

If you are an American reader that’s older than 21, you may know what happened on September 11th, 2001, the day where Twin Towers and other complexes of the WTC collapsed. 3,000 or so lives were gone, and all the telco equipment went beyond toast.  The telco companies equipment vendors at the time worked 24 x/hours for the following week to reroute data and voice traffic and to rebuild a totally new network for the Lower Manhattan area.

Regardless, this is another interesting story about telecommunications.

Aside

This virtual museum will feature pictures from central offices. A central office is where the hub of the public switched telephone network or PSTN meets and acts as the electronic operator by connecting the call from your home or office to connect to the other party on the other side. These switches are both very physical and very virtual between the millions and millions of wires (in this specific case) that connect to a bunch of mainframe telephone carrier systems that are probably as big as your Frigidaire in your kitchen, the only difference is it carries up to a few thousands of lines in the cabinet and its respective drawers within them. Then the software in the system does the all the magic of hooking up the call whether its down the street or across the country meanwhile these same systems are capable of providing voicemail, services like 3ways, call waiting and calling line ID (CLID or “Caller ID”) services to the customers.  (This is a very Cliff Notes version of central offices – I think a Glossary will be in order soon!)

So, lets start a series by showing today’s set of photos includes photos I had taken on a trip to New York in April. In Lower Manhattan, near their government center, there is a huge tower that has no windows. Normally that’s the sign its a central office. Why they don’t have windows? They don’t need them. In fact, windows could bring in unneeded heat in the summer or the unnecessary arctic temperatures in the winter time.

Verizon Central Office, Manhattan, NY

The Verizon Central Office in Lower Manhattan in New York City

This central office was built when the Bell System still virtually owned the U.S. phone business, the New York counterpart was known as New York Telephone. In the 1984 breakup, NYT joined into the New England Telephone, and the parent company was known as NYNEX (New York New England EXchange), though they operated on separate networks, bureaucracies, union groups etc. New York had more Nortel (Northern Telecom) switches, while in most parts of New England operated the 5ESS switches.

In the mid to late 1990s, NYNEX merged with Bell Atlantic (which operated New Jersey Bell, the Bell companies in PA, Maryland, D.C., Virgina and for the most part of the Mid Atlantic region. The merger took the Bell Atlantic name and the New York/England bell names would disappear. The company had renamed itself Verizon by the year 2000 (without any acquisition by that point.)

The corporate offices are right down a few blocks on Pearl Street, that is the location of the corporate headquarters. I’ll save that for another post.

Like I mentioned earlier, the New York Bell was and is still mostly a Nortel (previously Northern Telecom or NT) using their Digital Multiplex System DMS series of switches, I’m quite positive, I will double check and correct if necessary.

Central Offices: Verizon Lower Manhattan, NY