Watching this tour of Googles New York Offices is pretty mind boggling. Thinking back to the Mad Men era we can only assume those stiff shirted advertising 1960′s guys and the perfectly turned out women trying to get a high heeled shoe on the advancement ladder, would have swooned from sheer shock. But it’s not just time that has passed, it’s also true that today everyone working in a NYC office, whether it is Google, Time Warner, Conde Naste or Kickstarter operates within an entirely new security environment.
These days if you go into a NYC office building you must have a visitor’s badge and if you go in or out during after hours you must sign a visitors book, whether it is your normal place of work or not. These days every NYC office building operates within a tightly controlled web of security/crime control/safety that was unimaginable only 20 or so years ago.
Any number of emergency personnel may need to know you are in a building at a specific time. If a catastrophe occurs, a crime is committed or a fire breaks out, these irritating badges you have to wear or those forms you have to sign when you come into your building out of hours, are crucial to your survival. After 9/11 those records, insofar as they survived, were key to establishing the terrible toll of that event.
Of course 99% of the effort is redundant, especially those out of hours sign in sheets which no one ever looks at again if nothing happens. But the visitor badges and sign in sheets are the pointy end of a vast web of measures that keep New Yorkers safe. so give a happy smile to the person who hands you your visitors badge or the grumpy guard who points frowning at the sign in sheet out of hours.