Well, NPR is moving. Most everyone except Newscast, Digital News and Technical Operations has left the old building at 635 Massachusetts Avenue for the beautiful new headquarters building at 1111 North Capital Street. We, the stragglers go last- next week.
What will become of the old building that housed NPR for some two decades? It will be destroyed in just a few weeks; demolished and turned to dust. So….what do a few hundred snarky, already cynical NPR-types do to a building they know will cease to exist in a few short weeks?
Graffiti! Big time Graffiti. On all the walls, the elevators, the CEO’s old office bathroom. You name it. The entire place has been turned into a kind of performance art canvass where features of the building itself are part of the show. We have been unleashed like 6 year-olds with finger paints.
Here’s the old, handy, 3rd floor defibrillator:
NPR’s Supreme Court/Legal correspondent, Nina Totenberg, is photographed by White House correspondent, Ari Shapiro as she leaves behind her mark…
Later, an unnamed colleague added their snarky rejoinder:
The old building had its quirks. There was only one elevator that actually took you up to the 7th floor cafeteria. All other elevators took to you to the 6th floor and you’d have to walk up a flight of stairs. But that one elevator that went all the way up was also very, very popular. It could take up to 5 minutes or longer before you’d hear the cheesy little bell that signaled its arrival.
This is one of the other elevators. It featured a special guest rider all Friday afternoon. I maintain we are the only major radio network in the world with a headphone-wearing mannequin.
And continuing with the elevator theme- some are taking the move rather philosophically:
We always wondered what this old 3rd floor valve did, exactly. And we still wonder but just to be on the safe side….
The example above, one of the all-time best, comes from infrastructurist.com which has an ongoing series on brilliantly violated street signs.
Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of graffiti humor in history, of course, was born in the Washington, D.C. area. To my knowledge, there is no known picture of it, though the bridge that was used as the spray-paint canvas is to the left. With the Oz-like Mormon Temple behind it, the phrase on the side of the bridge read, “Surrender Dorothy.” It’s such a famous piece of graffiti that it has its own entry in Wikipedia. Not only that, but if you Google, “Surrender Dorothy,” about half the entries relate to the graffiti not the Wizard of Oz.
Another piece of wicked graffiti humor that also has no known picture, was spray-painted on a pedestrian bridge across Whiele Avenue in Reston, Virginia back in the 1970’s. It read: “Welcome to Crime-free Reston.” I think I know who actually did that, but surely after some 36 years, the statute of limitations has run out and I can no longer be subpoenaed.
Here’s a real dry one that is one of my personal favorites:
And this great one from some public restroom somewhere in America:
And finally, just because: