Last night, around 11 p.m., we got into a friend's car and began to drive—on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, then the L.I.E. We briefly considered bagging the whole plan and just making a quick dash to the Hamptons—the season is on!—but we soldiered on, getting deeper and deeper into deepest Queens. We merged onto the Van Wyck Expressway (so many expressways out here! And why is everyone driving so fast!), got briefly flummoxed in Flushing and had to turn around, and then finally made it to the Whitestone Expressway. Then we turned onto 20th Ave., and then back onto the Whitestone Expressway going the other way, and then finally, 14-some-odd miles later, the enormity of the New York Times printing plant in College Point was in sight.
We drove around once, to fully appreciate the plant's mass. Behind a barbed-wire fence, through a plate-glass window, were the plant's huge presses. They looked like something out of a superhero movie, that someone gets dropped in? (Ooh, new superhero—Newspaperman! He gets dropped into a vat of ink and comes out... oh, never mind. That wouldn't make any money either.) Anyway, we drove all around and back, and approached a gate.
The security guard was on his cell phone. He looked at us in a strange manner. One was under the impression that he does not receive many visitors. It was now nearly midnight. We rolled down the car window and said we were here to... well, what were we here for, exactly? Someone had told us that there was to be one of those "we're a big happy family" State of the Times meetings at the printing plant last night, so we thought we'd, you know, kind of hang out after? Maybe talk to some grizzled union members? (They are all grizzled, right?) See how Pinch did with the blue-collar members of the workforce? You know, stuff like that.
The outsourced security guard had not heard of any meetings. He placed a call to his manager, who asked to speak with us. We spelled our name. We told him we were from Gawker. Yes, with a G. No, no N at the end of our name, thank you. We got disconnected. The security guard called back and said his boss was calling the plant manager. The security guard's manager got back on the phone. He told us we could not, under any circumstances, come in. We had to make an appointment! We could call up the plant manager, and make an appointment, and then we would, maybe, possibly, if the wind was right, be able to come into the New York Times printing plant in College Point, Queens. We asked if there had been a meeting that night? Some sort of gathering, possibly in the cafeteria? No meeting, we were told. The plant manager knew of no meeting.
And so we turned around and drove back.