When Bill Keller stepped down as New York Times executive editor to write columns, the big news was obviously Jill Abramson's promotion as the first female editor of the nation's leading paper, as well as the promotions and newsroom realignments that come with any new regime. But for those on "columnist row" on the 13th floor of the paper's midtown Renzo Piano-designed office tower, where the Op-Ed columnists toil and give us frequent contributions to our Five Best Columns, there was one big specific question: Where is everyone going to sit?
Even prior to Keller's new assignment to the Op-Ed page, things had been in flux. Frank Rich left for New York magazine at the beginning of March, and his old office went to Joe Nocera when he moved from the business desk to Op-Ed, Rich told The Atlantic Wire. But the real prize of the 13th floor opened up a few weeks later with the retirement of Bob Herbert, who worked at the paper for nearly 20 years. His giant
corner office, with big windows facing 41st Street, uptown views and lots of natural light, was now up for grabs. (Editorial page editor, Andy Rosenthal, we're told, is in charge of assigning offices.) "I had heard that a couple of the other new columnists had asked for Herbert's office," Rich said. The newcomers were not in luck: the page's veteran star Maureen Dowd scooped it up instead.