The Story of the Stern Elevators

By: Sarah Brill  |  March 31, 2019

By Sarah Brill

Over the course of history, elevator technology has evolved to suit the needs of the people. From the days of the “cage” elevator to the modern-day glass elevator, for a long time we have been transported without the usage of stairs. Now, technology has failed us. The elevator crumbles before our very eyes. The moment we see a glimmer of hope, the elevator senses that enthusiasm and dies on us. So here we are, forced to take the stairs up eight flights, only to emerge panting and sweaty to our first-period classes, to find the sun glaring through the window (thereby enhancing our sweating and panting), to receive cynical glares from our classmates who think we are out of shape (when, in fact, we are only slightly out of shape). You can feel, as you sit down in class, the one working elevator laughing, mocking you through its closed metal doors as if to say, “I meant to do this to you.”

Then there are those times when the elevator will stop on the second floor to deposit everyone’s worst nightmare: the girl who pressed “two” going up from the basement or the first floor. That girl will receive even harsher stares. Meanwhile, the elevator will continue to laugh. And then there are the cold days, when the usual packing and stuffing will not suffice. At this point, even a jam-packed subway car will never experience the kind of packing that occurs in a Stern elevator.

Despite many people’s best attempts to walk the hallowed, weird-smelling stairwells, we still long for the time when the elevator will be back to its former glory. On that day, the phoenix will rise from the ashes, and all the elevators will be restored. For now, however, we hope and pray that the Syms elevator will not fail us. And, while we must attempt to climb Mount Everest everyday until the elevators are fixed, here is a helpful tips to get you and many others through this tough and trying time: let the professor with the baby on the elevator. Don’t worry, the elevators will be fixed in no time. (“No time” to be interpreted as “never.”)  

Editor’s Note: As this article goes to print, all three elevators in the 245 Lexington building have been repaired.