New vertical commute.

November 21st, 2013, 4pm

I take the express in the mornings. Eleven stops, but only the two last hop neighborhoods, the Financial District to 14th to Herald Square, twenty blocks in a gulp. This was a city center once, when these Midtown intersections and parks were named for rival newspaper publishers and within a year the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings topped out with spires to beat the band and scrape the sky.

The year before that, this landmark 1929 Deco hotel was built with 43 stories - the most rooms in the city, they said. A few years later Nikola Tesla would move in to stay for a decade and feed pigeons while all manner of shenanigans took place in the jazz club, branch of a financial institution, the tiled underground tunnel that leads directly here from Penn Station, the connections made from the murmurs of 92 ‘telephone girls.’

I walk from the train and pass construction workers on ledges with hard hats balancing food from halal carts and empanada stands under garish flashing signs for movies (and more often video games) near the buzzing, luminous neon luring tourists into the corner diner.

Almost-but-not-really updated out of its fade, I walk in and down the Interwar lobby, under the grand chandelier, and toward the elevator bank split between higher guest floor service and the brass doors that only slide open for lower levels: mostly 4 and 5 for conventioneers, 9 for residents. I take the local. Around me, couples search the numerical grid in awkward silence for the nonexistent buttons to their rooms on upper floors.

They will ride back to the lobby as I swipe into a quiet office suite down the hall from a children’s modeling agency. The young talent preens as they enter and leave. We just traded our line of desks on the noisy newsroom mezzanine for this shared floor, the better to work closely in a small space inside this large building on a quadrant of the city grid that has always been known for turning sharp copy, and where many things are happening all at the same time. We’ll take the local.

Cassie, Danielle, David Wade, Anne Marie and 4 others said thanks.

Share this moment

Kristen Taylor

drinker of raw milk, founder/editor of @saucymag, call me @kthread

Other moments in New York

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook