Weird New York City facts and places you never knew

If you look up from Cooper Square to

If you look up from Cooper Square to the roof of the Cooper Union Foundation Building, you can see a round, funnel-like structure that is, in fact, the top of the world's first elevator shaft. It was put there during the construction of the building in the 1850s on the orders of Peter Cooper, who decided that his new building-- at that time one of the tallest buildings in New York-- should have an elevator, even though the elevator had yet to be invented. Cooper was confident that a practical elevator would soon be perfected and in the meantime used the shaft to move goods between floors using a pulley system. Not long afterwards Elisha Otis did indeed unveil the first elevator ... but to Cooper's consternation it was square, not round! (Credit: Emilio Guerra)

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Christopher Winn, author of "I Never Knew That About New York," a book full of little-known NYC history, fun facts and self-guided walking tours that hits stores next week, shares his favorite weird and wonderful sights, features and places.

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