Saturday, November 10, 2007

The New New York Times

On Friday afternoon, I stopped by The New York Times, to see some old friends I worked with at the Op-Ed page and check out the brand new building. I hopped into the elevator, only to notice there were no floor buttons of any kind inside the car. Realizing I had entered the world of GATTACA, I figured I would slowly starve to death in this elevator. A kind soul entered moments later and told me it was a 'smart elevator' (leaving the conclusion that I must be the 'dumb passenger'). He explained that you have to push the floor button on the panel outside of the elevator and then it routes you to car that is going to nearby floors of other passengers. "Hal" got me to the correct floor.

The new building is really beautiful, the lobby is gargantuan. The giant signage outside the new building on the 8th Avenue side is amazing. The enormity of the space actually made me reflect on just how influential the New York Times is today. The other building wasn't even part of the visible New York Skyline. Finally, the paper seems to be physically living up to its reputation. But, it is hard to match the well-worn, daily-planet ethos of 229 W. 43rd, the building the NYT had been in for 80 years. One foot inside and you were greeted with the ghosts of clicking typewriters. Millions of words written by thousands of reporters were around every corner. The building sat on top of the giant presses that printed the paper for years... ink and newsprint and hot lead type in every crevice. Going to work, I walked under that humble little sign that held the word TIMES above and the time below. It made me feel special and small all at once.

1 comment:

matt kirkland said...

My old office building used those smart elevators. I never got tired of watching people slowly panic as they realized they couldn't select their floor. And sadly, I never learned enough Cantonese to explain it to them.