Friday, November 13, 2009

Are we so enlightened?

There are things I love about NYC and things I hate.   Among the things I love are the vast amount of great concerts I get to see here as everyone plays in New York.   I also like the energy of the city at times as it is vibrant and full of life.   Among the things I dislike include the weather and the absolute disdain that the locals have for their own city.   They litter relentlessly on their own streets and then make fun of the tourists, who undoubtedly take better care of this city than they do.

The thing I hate most about New York (specifically New Yorkers) is the notion that they are better than everyone else.   At some point they were given the impression that they are more enlightened to the world and that people in other parts of the country are simply not as good as we are.  

I would like to take this post to declare or, dare I say it, prove that New Yorkers really aren't so enlightened.    Seeing as how today is Friday the 13th, I thought it the perfect day to present my case.    As part of my experiment, I carried my camera with me for a week and photographed the elevator panels in every building I entered with more than thirteen floors.    Out of the nine buildings I went into, surprisingly only one had a thirteenth floor *. 

How could this be?    Is the enlightened New Yorker so naive to believe that if they live on a thirteenth floor that something bad will happen to them?     It is important to note that a few of these buildings are less than ten years old, meaning that this superstition is still fully alive today in New York City.   The naivety extends to beyond that of just a missing floor.    Is the thirteenth floor not thirteen floors off the ground regardless of what it is named?   Meaning, someone living on a fourteenth floor is really living on the thirteen floor of the building.   The name is arbitrary if you think about it.    Superstitious tenants should be wary of such smoke and mirrors so as not to be fooled into living on such an unlucky floor.

If this ratio of one of our nine elevators is representative of the entire city, then a staggering 89% of New York City buildings do not have a 13th floor.   I find this rather astonishing for a city that claims to know it all.  I am interested if this phenomenon is present in other cities, thereby making other places as unenlightened as we are.    Please enlighten me as to the elevators in your area.     I, for one, would gladly live on a thirteenth floor, especially if it would come with a reduction in rent.

*Interesting that most elevators put a star on the first floor.   I'm not sure what superstition that is referring to or how that came about.


  1. Funny post. I agree. The *star* is for those less-enlightened saps who need to be reminded which of the floors is the ground floor (lest they not remember from which floor they entered the elevator in the first place).

    Funny how all NY elevators aren't nearly as enlightened as their European counterparts. The Euros start with the logical "Ground" floor, then the "first" floor is really the second storey . . . oh, now my head hurts.

  2. I have to say I have an occasional make up job that I'm thankful for and surprised to say...IT IS ON THE 13TH FLOOR. I found it odd because I too have noticed often times it's left out. Guess it's "good luck" for me! ;0)

  3. I just came back from Vegas (today) and rode on literally 100's of elevators whilst there. Of only I had read this a few days ago I could have continued your experiment on the West coast!

  4. geez, you know, I've never really payed attention to that. I will have to keep a look out next time I'm in an elevator.