A Shabbos elevator is where modern push-button convenience acquiesces to ancient religious observance. Pushing an elevator button on the Sabbath is proscribed under an interpretation of Jewish religious law observed by some, which can be a problem if one lives on an upper floor and want to get into or out of your building between sundown and Friday and sunset on Saturday. Shabbos elevators are a compromise that allow observant Jews to ride in an elevator without pushing buttons because they stop at every floor automatically. To many other New Yorkers who value their time above almost all else, a Shabbos elevator is the equivalent of a terrible button-pushing prank by mischievous kids or as close to eternity as they will experience on earth, depending on how late they are running. According to the Times, the close link between Shabbos elevators and religious observance make many buildings and brokers reluctant to mention the amenity for running afoul of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits any hint that one group may be included or excluded from a building. So where can one find buildings with Shabbos elevators? Please allow us to push that button.
The Times article mentions a number of buildings with old school stop-at-every-floor Shabbos elevators and newer smart Shabbos elevators that use pre-programming and alternating schedules to get people in and out of their building faster.
535 West End Avenue?one of its elevators goes into Shabbos mode every weekend, shooting straight to the top floor and then working its way down floor by floor. The more you likely paid for your unit, the shorter your ride.
Heritage Trump Place at 240 Riverside Boulevard?one of its six elevators has a smart-Shabbos mode that only stops at pre-requested floors before cycling into regular service for a five minute period.
Seward Park co-op on East Broadway and Grand Street?the buildings have 12 Shabbos elevators that were recently converted to a smart system that makes stops requested in advance.
Hillman Housing co-op village on Grand Street?has Shabbos elevators that stop on every floor.