Newbies in the newly-hot riverside district of Long Island City can be forgiven if they wonder about the mustard yellow compound with sealed windows and a parking lot surrounded by fences topped with razor wire in their midst. But it's not a terrorist hideout and Ayman al-Zawahiri is probably not in residence. Rembrandt, Picasso and Warhol might be, though. Fortress New York is a world-class museum that you can't visit--a high-security, temperature controlled storage facility for fine art. The freestanding building shares no walls with neighbors to ensure against a Kandahar-prison-style break-in. "Access is completely controlled," boasts the Fortress web site. "Facilities are equipped with 24-hour monitored State of the Art Electronic Security Systems with direct lines to police and fire department. Integrated Intrusion Detection systems are used along with Closed Circuit TV monitoring. Motion detectors are installed throughout the building with photo-electric beams, passive infrared motion detectors and shock sensors in all exterior walls."
Entry is granted only to clients whose signatures are on file. Among those who gain entrance to its private vaults: Christie's and Sotheby's, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modem Art. "We store for anyone," says Thomas Burns, its Vice President and General Manager, "collectors, galleries, artists, foundations and museums." Maybe ol' Ayman ought to check it out.