If you’re thinking – “wow, she’s finally done posting Cuba photos!” – sadly, you are mistaken. But it is time for a pause while I talk about a trip to somewhere else I never, ever thought I’d be.
Here’s the NPR story that started it all (posted online – June 7, 10:46am )http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2012/06/07/152704170/what-lies-beneath-the-new-york-times-a-lively-morgue-and-its-lonely-keeper
A friend of mine shared the story on facebook around noon on the 7th. I was coincidentally headed to NY for vacation the following day, so I jokingly said I should try to get a personal tour even though I have zero clout, and he said I should give it a shot. I demurred – how could I? I’m nobody! Then I did a web search (love you, internets) and finally tracked down the phone number and email of the “lonely keeper” of the above story, Jeff Roth (not on the NYT website, elsewhere – if you want it, go find it). I called and left a voicemail and emailed him, and less than 2 hours later, he called me back. As if it were the most natural thing in the world for a random civilian to call out-of-the-blue and ask for an insider tour of the Morgue on a Friday…at the end of the day…in the summer. He was fine with me arriving around 4pm, so I made plans to meet him the following afternoon in the NYT new building.
I couldn’t believe my luck, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, but I never thought it would happen. The adrenaline rush lasted most of Thursday afternoon. I got up Friday at 3:30am, took 2 flights (made my tight connection in Houston), met my auntie at the Philly airport, and hit the road to NY. We were doing well until we hit a major traffic snarl on the NJ Turnpike, and the panic began to set in. We made it to the hotel around 3:30pm, I changed quickly and literally ran to the ferry, only to find out the ferry that runs every 30 minutes doesn’t run between 9:45 am and 4:15pm. Ran back to the PATH train, shot over to the WTC stop, jumped on the Subway, and made it to the NYT around 4:25. Considering the mileage travelled, I felt fortunate to make it that close to my appointment.
And there it was.
I entered, checked in with security, chatted with the guard for a few minutes, and then – lo-and-behold – there was Jeff Roth standing in front of me. I may have gushed a bit, though I was trying to play it cool. We left the NYT new building and headed to the old Tribune Building further down the block, towards our destination in the basement.
The final sentence of the NPR story was “And you can follow the serendipity as it unfolds in real time — or whatever kind of time it is.” I can’t imagine more serendipity than their story running June 7th and then walking through the archives myself a mere 25 hours later!
Next post – my experiences in the Morgue. In the meantime, you can enjoy their occasional posts of photos from their files: