The last time AOL was cool, big bookstores made money and Tom Hanks had hair, but the same cannot be said of the dial-up king’s futuristic funhouse at 770 Broadway.
The company’s New York headquarters, Times scribe David Carr once opined, has the feel of a “well-funded Internet start-up,” which sounds strikingly like The Huffington Post operation AOL has just devoured. Now Arianna Huffington’s army of young HuffPo bloggers will move into the larger company’s Greenwich Village office, The Observer has learned from an internal source.
Most details of the the Super Bowl Sunday AOL/Huff Po mash-up are still fuzzy—except for the most salient fact that the deal will infuse lots of cash into Ms. Huffington’s massively read, but not currently lucrative blog. In contrast, the new location is certain, the source said.
That news is likely to send shivers of dread through HuffPo bloggers, until recently contemplating a move to a hip Chelsea loft above Trader Joe’s. AOL, as Mr. Carr noted, is not cool and neither, for a long time, were its offices:
The name AOL, apart from conjuring echoes of the most disastrous merger in business history, redounds with the archaic sound of a phone-driven modem screeching as it connects with some fusty computers sequestered in Dulles, Va., the former headquarters of the company.
But, in 2007, AOL moved its headquarters to the former Wanamaker department store, right in the path of an N.Y.U. pub crawl. The new office, ex-Observerite Leon Neyfakh recently noted, “is a key plank of the company’s campaign for the hearts and minds of the city’s tech community.” Curving white corridors lead to “creativity huddle areas” cordoned off by glorified shower curtains.
The real question plaguing us is will they keep the giant aromatic gingerbread house that stands in the middle of the office?