Everyone who wants to be a star comes to New York, but when they arrive they learn a valuable lesson the hard way — real estate in this town is expensive and hard to come by.
Like any recent transplant carving out space with roommates in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, new liberal radio programmer Air America took to the airwaves this month while making the best of its decidedly unglamorous, cramped office space and dreaming of a bigger, better home.
Don’t be fooled by the ritzy address — 4 Park Ave. — its headquarters, scattered on three different, equally drab-looking floors, was too small almost from day one. Talent like “Unfiltered” co-host Lizz Winstead occasionally find themselves working on laptops in the reception area while president John Sinton shares an office.
Company brass eventually expects to upgrade in the current building or move to a more glitzy address in Times Square.
Despite the inconveniences, Mark Walsh, who acted as CEO during the company’s launch but recently stepped down to take an advisory role, is confident New York is the place to be. The media capital was more suitable than the nation’s capital, he says, because “Washington would wrongfully highlight the politics too much while we want this to be about entertainment.”
But New York offers more than just logistical advantages. Winstead says liberals have long been accused of being wishy-washy and not taking strong stances. “In New York you tell it like it is,” she says, “but you have a real diversity of opinion here.”
“Majority Report” co-host Janeane Garofalo says that while driving-oriented cities allow an almost suburban sense of isolation, Garofalo says that’s impossible here: “It’s the most natural thing in the world to always be in a crowd here so you get exposed to so many different lifestyles, people and tastes. It has to make you much more accepting. … Unless you read the New York Post, that is.”