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Some things change, nothing stays the same

November 19, 2010

The New York Times Building, Image: New York Times Company Archives

When I was a publicity gal working at a Boston publishing firm in New York City, I must have typed the address for The New York Times about a million times (perhaps I exaggerate; blame the publicity training).  That address rolled easily off my tongue as I called packages in to the messenger service for delivery.  All these years later, I can recite it still:  229 West 43rd Street, New York, New York, 10036 (I didn’t even have to look up the zip code; my fingers typed it automatically, though on a computer keyboard now instead of my hefty grey IBM Selectric Typewriternot the self-correcting kind).

All these years later, with my publishing career a distant memory and now an “official” historic preservationist (with a masters degree to prove it), it’s with some mixture of nostalgia and curiosity that I read Dan Barry’s New York Times account of “adaptive reuse” in which the Grey Lady’s newsrooms become Bowlmor Lanes.  (The newspaper’s offices have moved to a new building not far away.)  The journalist visited the soon-to-open entertainment spot with a photographer and the newspaper’s archivist, who was armed with a map of what used to be where.

Affirming that old adage “you can’t go home again,” Mr. Barry suffers a shock to the system to see the 1913 building’s grungy newsrooms transformed ($25 million later) into seven “bowling lounges,” each with a different New York City theme.  He writes “the concept hovered between the genius and the absurd, which made it all the more New York….”

IN the dozen years I spent working in the newsroom of the historic New York Times building, just off Times Square, I must have contemplated my future a hundred times, a thousand times. Would I become a national correspondent? A foreign correspondent? An editor? Should I chuck journalism and embark instead on a career in interpretive dance?

But I am fairly certain that I never thought: Maybe someday I will stand in this room with a bowling ball in my hand, admiring the Chinatown décor and hoping to pick up a spare in Lane 12.

Allow me a moment to double-check my memory.

Nope. I never thought this.

To read the full article (and you should), click here.

Bowlmor layout, showing themes available

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