Daily News Earth Globe
New York, New York
The Art Deco office tower at 220 East 42nd Street (built 1929-1930) is still referred to by many as "The Daily News Building" even though the aforementioned tabloid decamped to 33rd Street in the mid 1990s. Amazingly, the paper's stunning period lobby remains intact, with its giant world globe centerpiece still revolving majestically, basking in romantic glowing light.
The globe is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 4,000 pounds. It is housed in a mirrored circular pit beneath a black glass dome, and is lit from below. A sunburst, inlaid into the terrazzo floor, radiates out from this spherical beauty, with text marking the direction and distance to major cities around the world. The lobby walls are decorated with contraptions of precise measurement such as thermometers, wind speed indicators and an ornate world clock.
When the building first opened, a technical glitch was discovered -- the globe turned in the wrong direction. That snafu was quickly corrected, and it's been spinning steadily ever since. Moving 144 times faster than the actual Earth, the globe completes one rotation every ten minutes. Sadly, this does not speed up the workday for employees in the building.
If the place looks familiar, it's probably because Clark Kent and Lois Lane strolled through in the movie Superman (1978), where it doubled as the headquarters for The Daily Planet (The 1950's television series used Los Angeles City Hall.).
We're not really sure what Superman would make of the current Metropolis, with its severe lack of transformation-friendly phone booths. Maybe he'd have to turn back time to change his outfit. [ADB]