New ‘Times’ Tower: ‘It’s Like the Dark Ages’

The soaring new New York Times tower — already known for its weird toilets (when flushed, they apparently sound like a kitten being strangled), its weirder elevators (no buttons, and no indication of what floor they’re on), a leak problem (editor Bill Keller’s office got soggy in a recent rainstorm), and a mouse problem (reported by Gawker) — still has a few more surprises between the floorboards: maggots. “It’s hard to put out a newspaper when you’re worried about what might fall on your head,” one Times staffer told us this week. “One of the photo editors was sitting at her desk and maggots started falling from the ceiling tile on to her head.”

That wasn’t all. The maggots — Webster’s says they’re “legless, soft-bodied, wormlike larva of various flies of the order Diptera, often found in decaying matter” — were not alone. They were “followed by a rat,” our source said. A dead rat, that is, “that had been eaten by the maggots.” You could hear stifled screams ripple through the newsroom as word spread, said the source. “We all scanned our own ceilings for any loose tiles,” the source continued. “With maggot-y ceilings and rats falling out of the air, it’s like the dark ages in this building that was supposed to bring us into the 21st century.” —Geoffrey Gray