Conversion of a dumbwaiter to usable space in a NYC apartment is a popular idea but must be done according to NYC code. A dumbwaiter is a chimney, and as such must be sealed up by a fire resistant assembly. Use of plywood creates a fire hazard and is illegal.

dumbwaiter fire https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/01/08/riverside-drive-fire-upper-manhattan/

NYC Building code http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/bldgs_code/bc27s18.pdf

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