One does not have to be acutely claustrophobic to get the heebie jeebies at the thought of being trapped inside an elevator, particularly a subway elevator and especially a subway elevator deep below a place as isolated as the Roosevelt Island subway station can be at times. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to 5 subway passengers yesterday who became stuck in the Roosevelt Island subway elevator and were rescued by the NYC Fire Department. More details to follow but for now this is from the Roosevelt Island 24 hour Incident Report:
Aided- 5 people stuck in the subway elevator. FDNY removed them. No injuries and EMS refused.A recent New Yorker magazine article on the lives of elevators describes a 1999 incident in which a man got stuck for 41 hours in an elevator at the McGraw-Hill building and what happened to him since. According to the article his ordeal began one night after going out of the building for a cigarette break when:
... he returned to the lobby and, waved along by a janitor buffing the terrazzo floors, got into Car No. 30 and pressed the button marked 43. The car accelerated. It was an express elevator, with no stops below the thirty-ninth floor, and the building was deserted. But after a moment White felt a jolt. The lights went out and immediately flashed on again. And then the elevator stopped.Read the whole article but be warned - you may never feel the same about getting into an elevator. Security cameras captured the entire ordeal. Here is a You Tube time lapse video of the entire 41 hours condensed to 3 minutes.
The control panel made a beep, and White waited a moment, expecting a voice to offer information or instructions. None came. He pressed the intercom button, but there was no response. He hit it again, and then began pacing around the elevator. After a time, he pressed the emergency button, setting off an alarm bell, mounted on the roof of the elevator car, but he could tell that its range was limited. Still, he rang it a few more times and eventually pulled the button out, so that the alarm was continuous. Some time passed, although he was not sure how much, because he had no watch or cell phone. He occupied himself with thoughts of remaining calm and decided that he’d better not do anything drastic, because, whatever the malfunction, he thought it unwise to jostle the car, and because he wanted to be (as he thought, chuckling to himself) a model trapped employee. He hoped, once someone came to get him, to appear calm and collected. He did not want to be scolded for endangering himself or harming company property. Nor did he want to be caught smoking, should the doors suddenly open, so he didn’t touch his cigarettes. He still had three, plus two Rolaids, which he worried might dehydrate him, so he left them alone. As the emergency bell rang and rang, he began to fear that it might somehow—electricity? friction? heat?—start a fire. Recently, there had been a small fire in the building, rendering the elevators unusable. The Business Week staff had walked down forty-three stories. He also began hearing unlikely oscillations in the ringing: aural hallucinations. Before long, he began to contemplate death.
On a more light hearted note here is a You Tube video of the Boswell Sisters from 1932 singing the Heebie Jeebies. Maybe thinking of it will help you get through being stuck in an elevator for a brief time. Maybe not.