The NYT Morgue Packs Up and Ships Out

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“I seem to be the last man standing here,” said Jeff Roth. Dressed in a sharp gray suit with a white handkerchief peeking from the pocket, Mr. Roth was 24 feet below sidewalk level, in the depths of the New York Times Building at 229 West 43rd Street.

Mr. Roth, a group-three clerk for The Times, is the keeper of the paper’s morgue, the files of millions of clippings that served as the institutional memory for a century. “There were probably 50 guys like me at one time, who knew where everything was.”

The clips currently take up a labyrinthine space, an intricate system of dusty file cabinets and stacked cardboard boxes. Only one elevator currently goes from the Times lobby down to the basement. It was once the pressroom, but the presses were packed up and shipped to the Philippines in 1997.

Next month, the morgue is due to move out, too. While The Times relocates into its new ultra-modern office tower on Eighth Avenue, the morgue will go to the basement of the former New York Herald Tribune headquarters on West 41st Street—no longer inside the main Times building, but still hanging on.

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