This is a fairly diverting piece about the way the elevator changed New York City.
"The elevator's vibrations are resolving themselves in her mind as an aqua-blue cone. Her pen rests in her palm and her grip loosens. It might fall. She shuts out the sound of the super's breathing, which is a low rumble lilting into a wheeze at the ultimate convexity of his exhalation. That's noise. The elevator moves. The elevator moves upward in the well, toward the grunting in the machine room, and Lila Mae turns that into a picture, too. The ascension is a red spike circling around the blue cone, which doubles in size and wobbles as the elevator starts climbing. You don't pick the shapes and their behaviors. [...]
"Ask a vertical-transportation-industry professional to recall an episode of an elevator in free fall…."
Breaking: 1 reported dead and at least 2 others injured in elevator fall at 285 Madison Ave, home of Young&Rubicam
— NYT Metro Desk(@NYTMetro) December 14, 2011
"Ask a vertical-transportation-industry professional to recall an episode of an elevator in free fall—the cab plummeting in the shaftway, frayed rope ends trailing in the dark—and he will say that he can think of only one. That would be the Empire State Building incident of 1945, in which a B-25 bomber pilot made a wrong turn in the fog and crashed into the seventy-ninth floor, snapping the hoist and safety cables of two elevators," wrote Nick Paumgarten in April, [...]