"Oh hey, is that the Google office?"
The otherworldiness of the photo might convince you it's a Photoshop fake, or a bizarre real estate rendering. But no, sometime over the weekend, Google awkwardly hung its stark, white logo over the gold imprint of "The Port of New York Authority" at its New York headquarters, nearly two years after it purchased the building for $1.9 billion.
The old Port Authority Building, circa 1932
The landmark Port Authority Commerce Building in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City was a massive warehouse that sorted and distributed freight cargo during the mid-twentieth century. It was an engineering masterpiece for its time, with freight elevators that could fit semi-trucks, a helipad on the roof and direct subway access from inside the building.
Fast forward to 1972 and the Port Authority moves downtown; the building bounces between a few different owners; and in 2006, a little company called Google purchases 200,000 square feet of space, alongside other big-name tenants like Deutsche Communications, Nike, Barnes & Noble's digital division, Verizon, and Sprint. You might notice the particularly high concentration of technology companies. And sure, the Port Authority building has notoriety, size and a centralized location, but the real prize is the building's gooey center: It sits on top of one of the city's largest fiber optic highways — giving it "access to as much bandwidth as possible and as much variety of bandwidth as possible." Fast forward a few more years and Google, purchases the entire, block-wide building for $1.9 billion.
The new white logo went up over the weekend, just a few weeks after the building was closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and reports surfaced about some tenants losing their network connection as Google's data hub switched to backup generators during the storm.
Whatever reason Google had for finally deploying the sign — a spokesperson didn't have an explanation — it's definitely visible now, if nothing else.