Thanks to Mad Men, Time & Life Building Will Become Hip
William Alden July 21, 2010, 2:05 p.m.
The Times‘ City Room has seen the upcoming season premiere of Mad Men and offers this quasi-spoiler report: Don and the gang are moving offices to the Time & Life Building.
This means that midtown north, in real life, is about to become cool. Time & Life is at 1271 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) between 50th and 51st streets. It’s an expansion of Rockefeller Center and now houses the decidedly un-hip SportsNet New York.
Luckily for Mad Men fans everywhere, and thanks to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the lobby is still fairly retro. The LPC designated an “elevator core, wrapped in shimmering stainless steel panels which contrast and complement the gray and white terrazzo floor,” a poetic description, courtesy of the American Institute of Architects Guide to New York City, that Don Draper would have been proud to write.
The real-life history of the building even includes a charming Mad Men-esque story of a 9-year-old foreman’s son who lit a 35-foot Christmas tree on top of the 587-foot building after shouting, “O.K., Dad, take her away!” (Of course, if that had happened in the show, the dad wouldn’t have been around to hear the kid shout.)
It’s been a half-century since the building opened in 1959, so a few things have changed. The otherwise retro lobby now has card-operated turnstiles.
“That was after 9/11,” an elevator starter said.