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The Morgue Lives!
It is a cramped basement annex, stacked high with metal filing cabinets, full of three-fourths of a million pounds of old newspaper clippings and photos, going back 160 years.
It’s simply called “the morgue.”
To get here, a reporter must leave the shiny glass tower that is the 40th Street headquarters of the New York Times, walk a half-block down the street, and descend three levels below the sidewalk. There, in a nondescript tower, she will emerge from a dirty elevator, walk past a janitor’s closet, then past a giant, rusted pump contraption with running water, and finally reach a pair of metal doors. There are glue traps with belly-up cockroaches in the corner.
“I swear, we haven’t taken you to a torture chamber,” jokes my guide, a Times photo editor, leading me through the double doors. There is no computer in the morgue. No internet service. No cell reception. If we were to die here — perhaps by an improperly secured two-ton cabinet — it’s safe to say it would take days for anyone to find our bodies.
Welcome to the archives repository of the most respected newspaper in the world.