Working in the Empire State Building

I feel rejuvenated. I feel strong and capable of doing so many things at once. Something completely unexpected has happened and turned my world upside down within only a short time frame.

The turmoil started about two weeks ago: I went to an interview for an Austrian-rooted company and last week I received an offer to start the job. This past Monday was basically the start of my first week of work and, as you might have noticed already, it’s been crazy busy! I haven’t had the chance to write one single post during the past five days so today I want to take my time and update you on the newest events going on in my simple life.

The job in particular might not be of great interest to you. I want to respect the company and keep it rather confidential. However, the location will hopefully blow you away.
I’ll give you a few hints: So, I still work in Midtown. To be specific, I even work close to 34th Street, just as was with the old job (remember the Penn Station stop I used to walk out of? Get the full story here). But I am a few blocks off towards the East. To be very specific, I work at 350 Fifth Avenue. Now google please…

If you still don’t get it… I work in a well-known symbol of New York, part of the slogan for the state of New York (Empire State of Mind), and perhaps the most popular landmark in the one and only skyline of Manhattan…

I work in the Empire State Building!

Oh, don’t worry, I would have eventually told you about the interview – even if it hadn’t worked out with this job. That by itself was pretty mind-blowing. Five doormen who cheerfully and solemnly greeted me with a striking “Good morning to the Empire State Building.” They held the door open and swiped my guest pass to guide me across to the seemingly endless amount of elevators… Yes, that first day of my interview was impressive by itself, no doubt!

And then Monday came around, and I found myself on my way from Herald Square one block over to Fifth Avenue, not knowing if this was a dream or my real life. I would have never imagined myself working on Fifth Avenue. But even less, I would have never imagined myself working in the Empire State Building.

To not bore you with the detailed facts: I started working with two other nice pals, we all get along quite well, and training has not ceased to strain our intellect and patience. This in a good way, I dare say. I haven’t had one day yet that I consider boring. Long gone the days filled with social networking, blog posts, and endless amounts of pointless E-Mails. Long gone the days when being annoyed with stupid office bureaucracy and hassling with superiors who barely made it through their high school degree. Long gone the days when feeling like an awkward, unshaped piece of a puzzle I no longer wanted to belong to…

Another training session before lunch...

I have to say – my day starts out pretty sweet. When I exit my F-train, I walk right into the side entrance to the Empire State Building. Past the Steve Madden and Aerosoles stores, away from the ESB ticket sellers, right through the revolving doors into the ground floor. In the beginning, we three newbies obtained a guest pass at the front desk, and this only when someone from our office gave his okay. On Thursday, our trainer led us into the basement and we got our permanent passes taken. The picture looks quite awful but after comparing them to each other we didn’t care anymore for everyone looks unauthentic and unappealing on these spits of plastic.

Most unrepresentable pass ever!

Today I took my fancy camera with me and shot some nice pictures of our view from the 27th floor (this information, indeed, I can tell you). The sun was mockingly shining through the glass and winking at us. I found out that employees get a 50 per cent discount if they want to go to the top. When I went in April it had cost me $22, but now it would be reduced to a temptingly low $11. I am positive that my coworker and I will check out the top one time soon, as we are almost the only ones hanging in front of our office windows and competing about who takes the better pictures (sorry, I don’t have an iPhone!).

Then I went on a small tour and found a “kosher” pizzeria on the ground level. This was actually the place my former coworkers (I used to work for a Jewish company) had ordered their lunch from and I had jokingly told them to visit me whenever they would be around. I didn’t try it, as I have eaten enough kosher food for the rest of my life, and I wasn’t really turned on by their pricing or customer service, either.

Before ending my tour, I asked one of those fancy-looking guards to look sweet pose firmly for me and got a nice shot of him, too. He carefully pointed out to me that he is only allowed to have one picture taken of him… Which I am unsure of what one picture means exactly. One picture per guard (I would have went right on to the next), or one picture a day, an hour … ? Next time I will ask him!

Kosher pizza
A guard trying hard to look good for his only picture

Well, after taking this symbolic one picture, I stepped into the elevator. Or rather: One of those ten leading up to the 27th floor and beyond. I am not sure how many lifts exactly exist, but they are divided into the floor level you want to reach, so the one shooting up to levels 24 through 40 is for me. The elevator is a typical build for the City, as it has a screen showing the current weather forecast (definitely will need this when on my WAY TO WORK) and current updates on what’s going on in the Empire State Building (girl scout cookies sold on the ground floors). These updates I do consider sweet and surreal at the same time. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself and asking: AM I REALLY HERE?! How could I not be living the American Dream? Not only am in New York and work for an interesting and mentally-challenging company. But I am in THE one and only epitome of this city …
I truly achieved what I never imagined to achieve and now I am floating on this log in the middle of the whirling river that makes out my time here in the Big Apple. Unsure of the destination but my time here filled with some special treats and unexpected twists.

So as you can tell, I am still adjusting to all of this and try not to shake when I enter the building or stand still in awe. Which I really feel like doing every single time. One thing I have promised myself already is to say a cheerful “Good Morning” back to those fancy-looking guards. They already make my day in the morning, might as well make theirs. Not like some ignorant people who just walk past and who have seemed to forgotten where again they really work at. And how suddenly it could be over. We are, after all, in New York, New York!

So here I stand, one of those thousands of people working in the Empire State Building. And I cannot wait to go back on Monday!

Back to my own office

I hope your guys’ week has been equally splendid!

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10 thoughts on “Working in the Empire State Building

  1. That “one picture” thing is very strange. Did it ever occur to you that this man might be under some sort of curse? Perhaps he wasted film as a child and an elfin spirit put a one picture curse on him…and if someone were to ever take a second photograph he would turn to stone or something…or he took a picture of a leprechaun without permission and is cursed to only be allowed one photograph at a time lest he shrink to the size of the picture…there are thousands of possibilities, each to be taken very seriously. I would inquire into this as soon as possible for both his sake and yours.

    Oh, and congratulations on the job.

  2. Congratulations, Laura. That is splendid. I think your pictures out the window turned out well. As to the ID photo, well, none of them ever look good. If it makes you feel any better, it turns out that the ID card for me that worked in the States doesn’t pull up on the scanners on post in Germany, so we had to have new photos taken. While it’s not printed on a new ID that is what the guards see every time we come through the gates (and was taken the day we flew in after we’d been up about 30 hrs lol).

  3. Laura this is incredible news. Congratulations on the job! What a turn up that it’s a job you like with an address that would stop anyone’s hearts! Well done.

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