I am not even in the town when the big move happens. Thanks to my most able and the efficient assistant Mary (Nastos) that I am moved into my new office and when I walk in a couple of weeks later, other than a few unopened boxes, Mary has found the new home for my stuff in a very organized way in the space I would occupy for the next four years. The office I have yet to see.

I park my car in the same building instead of a block away in a separate parking garage. I take the elevator first down to the lobby and switch to the one which would take me to the Playboy’s new headquarters on the 15th floor. I am dazzled by the cascade of natural and artificial light, the high ceiling and the U shaped railing up above, looking down at the receptionist a floor down below. Mounted on the wall on the west side of the reception area is a huge bronze sculpture of Playboy’s familiar Rabbit Head blinking at me with its left eye. Commissioned and created by the renowned Chicago sculptor, Richard Hunt. On the opposite side, in front of an expansive glass wall sits a slender, exotic looking dark skinned, very sweet and petite young woman, I have never seen before.

‘May I help you?’ She flashes a friendly smile, which is unconsciously seductive, her voice dripping with honey.

‘Oh yes! I am here – ur, I guess I work here!’

Soon I see in the background Mary coming down the steps of one of the two Terrazzo staircases.  At the first glance I perceive them to be  to be twin modernistic Spanish steps descending on to the either side of Piazza di Spagna in Rome. I see Mary rush towards the glass wall and yanking open the door on the side.

‘Welcome back,’ she gives me a hearty hug as the receptionist looks on.

Mona, meet my boss Haresh Shah.’ Mary introduces  me to the receptionist and takes me by the hand. ‘Let me take you to your new office.’

I am in awe of what I see as we approach the atrium. Instead of little shops and the stands found on a Piazza, I am face-to-face with a large oil on canvas portrait of Gloria Steinem, done by Chicago artist Ed Paschke, mounted on one of the panels, staring menacingly at me through her magenta colored glasses. Up the stairs on the wall facing us, I see a pair of giant red lips by Tom Wesselman, open wide in a hearty laugh, a set of perfectly aligned teeth sparkling. I also glance up at the  slanted modernistic metal canopies crowning the glass walls. The executive offices. Mary informs me, about what would come to be known as the fish tank. As we stop at the top of the floor, there is an office on my right, That’s John Mastro’s office. And the right outside begins the grey Steele railing that stretches over the expanse of the atrium, curved like  the shape of a luxury liner. Stunning!

Turning the curve, Mary  leads me to the section behind the lips; assigned to our group. Suddenly I am in the different world away from the glitz and the glamour of the areas surrounding the atrium and the executive offices.  It’s a large square space. Clustered in the middle are the work stations, mostly in blue with grey trimming. While most of the support staff sat outside the offices of their bosses at 919, here they each have their own work stations, separated by about six feet high soft padded partitioned walls. Over there is Bill’s office. She points to the closed door across what I will call the bullpen. And then there are other offices like fortresses to the support staff. This is where I sit, right outside of your office. She opens the closed door on her right, turns on the lights and lets me in.

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