Given an infinite universe, coincidences abound. From the Small World department … Follow this link to a Google map of a block in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.
You will see a block long building between 8th and 9th Avenues to the east and west, and 15th and 16th Streets on the north and south.
When I moved to New York City my first apartment was at 320 West 15th Street, the second building west of 8th Avenue, on the south side of 15th Street.
It was a spartan apartment in a tough and unattractive area, undoubtedly the lousiest hole in the wall I ever lived in my whole life, but I was 24 when I moved in, a semi-employed funky musician, and hadn’t earned the right to live anywhere better.
I never knew what business that big building across the street was in, but it had an enormous truck dock that spanned most of the block, directly across the street from me. Gargantuan trucks would pull up to it 24 hours a day, squeaking their brakes, jamming their gears, racing their engines, and someimes blasting their foghorn tooters. The street was narrow, so drivers would often pull up onto the sidewalk to get enough swing room to back their trailers in. I lived on the second floor in the front of the building; when those trucks pulled up, if I had been standing out on the fire escape, I could have whacked their pollution spewing smokestacks with a stick. Sleeping in that apartment took some getting used to.
So … guess what that big building is used for today?
Are you ready for this? I just learned this today:
“Step out of New York’s 14th Street subway stop, turn up Eighth Avenue, and there, in the heart of Chelsea – amid the traffic, delis, pizzerias, and restaurants – is Google’s largest software engineering center outside of Mountain View,” reports Information Week. Google opened their new NY offices 5 months ago and already has around 500 employees who work on print ads, Google Finance, Google Spreadsheets, Checkout and more. …
Yep, Google’s biggest office outside headquarters is a rock throw from where I lived for exactly one year. The building’s main entrance is on the 9th Avenue side.
When I left there I moved uptown to 52 W. 71st Street — which by another incredible coincidence happened to be right around the corner from the Dakota Apartments where John and Yoko Lennon settled, but not until a few months after I moved from that neighborhood. Lennon used to visit the coffee shop across the street from my former apartment to read the paper in the afternoon when he was in town because it was quiet and the owner would stick him in a booth at the back where he wouldn’t be bothered. Had I continued to live there much longer I might have run into him, because he would do this frequently, and usually without bodyguards. Here’s a map of that address.
The Dakota Apartments are that squarish building in the upper right, at the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West, one of the main entries to the park.
Today Google is my favorite high tech business; for several years, up until about when I moved out of my 71st Street apartment, my life pretty much revolved around the Beatles. Therefore I find the dual coincidence of proximities interesting. Which is not to say that it means anything.
It seems like greatness follows me around but never quite catches up.
There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
—John Lennon / Paul McCartney