Last Days in the Old NPR Building: Saying Goodbye With Clever Graffiti

Five furniture auction guys were outside as I pulled up to work today. This afternoon, NPR’s signature show, All Things Considered, will broadcast from our soon-to-be-bulldozed headquarters building for the final time. Tomorrow, Weekend Edition Saturday airs from 1111 N. Capitol, our shiny, gorgeous new headquarters in the city’s Northeast quadrant.

Knowing that our landlord plans to demolish this building has led to some brilliant goodbye graffiti on the walls. A stamp that reads “EVERYTHING WILL BE BETTER,” a familiar trope we’ve heard about the new building, shows up in mirrors and stairwells. “You can see people’s inner monologues about the building as you walk down the hallway,” friend Denise said. I’ve been tickled by the creativity and the doodle skills of my colleagues.

Thank you to my friend and former boss Joel for chaperoning me into a shockingly yellow men’s room for a photo. And whoever wrote the descriptions under emergency signs as if they were high art … I think you are a genius. (Click on any image to start the slideshow)

We employees are moving in four phases. I’m here until the bitter end, next Friday. But digital media — the talented folks responsible for our apps and API and design — as well as multimedia, music and some of the newsroom, like the Washington desk, leave this afternoon. Farewell, 635.

The Final Countdown Before The Bulldoze

Our current building, which won't exist soon. (photo via Flickr)
Our current building, which won’t exist soon. (photo via Flickr)

The hundreds of us who work at NPR are 51 days away from leaving our current crumbling edifice for a shiny, environmentally-friendly new headquarters on North Capitol Street. The old headquarters will be bulldozed almost immediately to make room for some fancy mixed use development.

With the move to our new building imminent, everyone’s stopped caring about the current one. The facilities guy, Don Gooden, caught me stapling random things to the wall today, my first day back at work after four+ months off with Eva. I said I would graffiti the place next, and then maybe hide some dead bodies in here.

He shrugged, smiled and said, “Do what you gotta do!”