At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, memories of office life are a bit hazy. Commutes have shrunk from crowded subway rides to a few short steps between bed and desk. Coffee breaks amount to another refill from the kitchen.
But TPM has always had offices that match the site’s idiosyncratic operation. Josh Marshall started the site working hours at a Washington, D.C. Starbucks. These were pre-Grady’s Cold Brew days, if you can believe it. Later, when Josh moved to New York, the TPM crew settled into a cozy office in Manhattan’s Flower District.
“We had a mouse die in the wall of that space, which made the place almost un-occupiable,” Josh recalled. “It was almost impossible to be in there.”
In 2009, amid another expansion of the company, TPM moved to where it remains (at least physically) today, a handful of blocks south, on the edge of Chelsea and Flatiron. It’s conveniently a stone’s throw from Trader Joe’s, where much of the staff would load up on groceries during a break.
The offices in Washington were a similarly scrappy operation. David Kurtz was living in Missouri while trying to navigate D.C. commercial real estate. After a temporary sublease, TPM’s fledgling D.C. team in 2010 moved into what was essentially an apartment, complete with working shower and bedroom/office.
“We’re doing this journalism thing that everyone’s paying attention to and at the same time we’re just scratching and clawing to make the whole thing work,” David recalled.