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99% Invisible-48- The Bathtubs or the Boiler Room

2012-02-26 | 🔗

“I have this habit of walking into any door that’s unlocked…You start poking around, going into doors…you find the coolest things…” -Andrea Seabrook, NPR Congressional Correspondent In the eight years Andrea Seabrook has been reporting on Congress, she has made … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Andrea Zebra within PR. You didn't catch that that's in New York, rational, corresponded, Andrea, see Brook reporter poking around looking it secret I am still in love with Andrea, see brokering the women on either side of the door tells Andrea that she needs to leave and that walking into random doors in the basement of the. U S. Capital building is not one she's supposed to be dealing and that's ninety nine percent of missiles own SAM Greenspan. He went with Andrea. Capital building sojourns, that's not what we're supposed to be doing it. Doesnt attorney you care what they think, I'm supposed to be doing, I'm here to cover the United States capital. Frankly s, this is part of it.
Even if you try to set aside its role as the hub of western democracy, the capital Billy itself, just the building is an overwhelming structure, their six thousand people who work in this complex. That's including staffers, though not including politicians, I mean it's a huge city and it has one function, can call it a function that is running legislative branches government both you know, writing the bills and cleaning the toilets as everybody the difference. In my rights, the capitals known for its grandeur, rotunda statuary hall, the cribbed, the marble staircases, this places unbelievably ornamental than walls upstairs porges freezes. You know it's birds and squirrels and gorgeous gorgeous limiting beautiful pay
work in their own stuff, we're supposed to see, but when you're an inveterate doorknob turner and new by Henry Zebra, you also get to know the capital below the surface. Literally down here, there's only one Engineers eight track engineers in blue uniforms say, like you know, Joe on purpose The building the business of government trickled down these lower levels, the members of the House republican talk as if somehow Democrats me in the basement for their surplus door secret strategy sessions and it's a really good place to place to get
tip from members that you know about what's going on, but the main reason we're here is to see a little bit of the architectural grander than is trickled down. Here too, is please chicken with engineers One thing: it's cool as some other shouting Andrea, is leading you through the serpentine brood of alleys, doorways and really in the coming years. We are no it's amazing and then their these bathtubs. It's amazing there, these beautiful marble, vast halves of marble, steps, the lead up to them and brass fittings D. You too, for ass tat just to describe it a little bit. It's it's sort of a white ivory marble that has this lustre. It reminds
the Venus De Milo or something it shines, glows a little bit and it's got very faint black veins in it, and it's just gorgeous- The curves in it are so gentle and continuing but for all the grander than tubs possess, the room itself is the exact opposite. This place was supposed to laugh. Senators now occurs and heat the entire capital building, there's big each back equipment in computer servers and large steel cabinets containing God knows what, even though, the battles of the sunken toilet we're here, first they're, the ones at C Mon replace the bathtubs were installed around eighteen. Sixty during the expansion of the capital DC is known for its swampy summers and legend. Has it that centres to be banished from the chamber if they were to smelly? It story expect yeah fact that it was less figurative, most people, the time even politicians,
have indoor plumbing, so Congress needed a place where the politicians could go in wash up Andrea reads from an informational card beside the term. Ok, here each bathtub, and I am standing in one right now was carved in ITALY. From a single block of correira marble. Three bathtubs were shipped from Genoa, ITALY in July, one thousand, eight hundred and fifty nine and reached Baltimore in November of that year July, to November the other three were shipped from Leghorn ITALY, in September of eighteen, fifty nine and arrived in New York in January of eighteen. Sixty the precise dates, the bathtub.
I've only solution at the capital are uncertain, but the Senate Bathing Room is known to have been in operation as of February twenty. Third, eighteen sixty each of the six tabs costs ninety box and eighteen sixty, which is around twenty five hundred dollars apiece today, and that would justify the tabs. You gotta figure is still more to ship them from ITALY, perceive them at the port of Baltimore transport them to Capital Hill, and then you have to build a bathing facility suitable to a senator. They had oakwood paneling plaster, cornices mint entire agone dart mouldy of the six original tubs only true or left, and one has a piece of plywood read that props up some padlocks steel, mystery box either was decommissioned years ago. This place is a total collusion of areas, not just versus new, and I know that just a little bit ago, we're considering the capital building as just a building, it's impossible,
this room and not see a metaphorical debate right here in the basement. We are having this great debate in our country whether you're in the tea party or the Occupy movement. Both share. Same concern about who the government is for and that I think the politicians have tried really hard to make it look as if the government is for the people and not for the gorgeously appointed bathers of them. For example, when New Gingrich took over the house speakership and ninety ninety five. After you know a giant sweep of the ninety four elections. He found that there were buckets of ice still being delivered to every single member of Congresses office, even though they all had refrigerators with icebreakers. It was back from the time when you had to buy I separately, and so they
but have shut down all that stuff? At the same time, they got rid of the house historian. They D funded all of these things they thought of as luxuries, and they get rid of a lot of the funding for saving things like this is Andrew, puts it The spending verses austerity question is really just a modern form of the quintessential american question of government, which is how much government should exist. What is there to do, and at one point about two hundred and forty some odd years ago, there was this idea of the government being an important institution, one that would have gorgeously appointed baths and now we're sitting in a boiler room and,
beautiful meant in title has been painted over with industrial gray paint and the walls or are kind of dirty and its loud and and there's no way to pay homage to it anymore. It's tucked in a corner dirty and there's a roach trap on the floor. We're just see other marble sparkles a little bit. If it's a little bit more closely, the citizen must not only any modern political persuasion. They would advocate for the installation of luxurious three thousand dollar marble bathtubs for senators slowly as they may be, the bathtub stopped the cylinders but If the ornate marble bathtubs are already there, there were installed a hundred and fifty years ago. What do you do with what it presents the people now immediately that is still preserved, but it's it's likely not going to be restored. Now
unless we had some resurgence in respect for other government me. Imagine the people wanting to pay. If it was only now given five hundred thousand dollars just to be crazy. Just to restore this area, maybe a lot. Whether that actually come to think of how much you d have to move, but it opens doors, Ninety nine percent invisible was produced this week by SAM Greenspan, Lamb, so jealous of ease totally fired. I'm in my house he's trips, the capital building with Andrea Zebra. Primarily worse, with support from lunar, making a difference with creativity. That's a project of K. W then point. Seven local public radio in San Francisco in Amerika
it's too architects in San Francisco, weird did by pr acts. The public radio exchange, making public radio more public appear ex dot. Org you can find the show on Facebook, I tweet roman wars or even catch up with us on the website, nine percent invisible Donald.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.