Few new newspaper offices get the flying send-off that the new Hearst headquarters in New York received on its official opening day. Guests at the opening ceremony this week were greeted by trapeze artists swinging from the ceiling of the building’s huge atrium, which is dominated by an eye-catching 30 ft high waterfall.
The new 80 storey building overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park, designed by British architect Norman Foster, has been constructed inside the framework of the original Hearst headquarters, an Italianate –style building just six stories high dating back to the Twenties. . The new modernistic glass and steel framed building which takes its place is a new stand-out in the sky-line of mid-town Manhattan.
Guests at the opening party included such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, who got a first look at her own new office in the building (Hearst publishes her O-for Oprah Magazine) , New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Martha Stewart and the former head of Disney Michael Eisner.. And of course many Hearst journalists.
The building, apart from the waterfall in the lobby, has several other novel features. including a gym , an open-air cafeteria and a private movie screening room. – which will it’s promised show free movies every Monday night. The gym which includes an on-line skating machine, and will provide staff with kick-boxing lessons and complimentary massages, costs employees a mere $15 a week.
At the opening party guests were served a special Tower Cocktail – gin, lime juice and champagne. And then there was an hour’s entertainment by Stevie Wonder. As the guests left there were given a commemorative tie – featuring a gold embroidered rendering of the new skyscraper.
Scheduled next to open in New York is the new headquarters of the New York Times. . But that won’t be until next Spring. When it does open it will also include a movie screening room, also on the ground floor a shopping arcade. Plus, of course, these days a special area devoted to the paper’s new and growing web-site which for the first time has significantly been allocated key space in the building.