Fall 1968 • Vol. XXX No. 5 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1968 |

James Agee: A Memoir

The office building where we worked presented on the ground floor one of the first of those showrooms, enclosed in convex, non-reflecting plate glass, in which a new automobile revolved slowly on a turntable. The building bore the same name as the automobile. It had been erected in the late '20s as a monument to the car, the engineer, and the company, and for a time it held the altitude record until the Empire State Building went higher. It terminated aloft in a glittering spearpoint of metal sheathing. From the 52nd and 50th floors, where Agee and I respectively had offices, you looked down on the narrow cleft of Lexington Avenue and across at the Grand Central building, or you looked north or south over the city or across the East River toward Queens. As a boomtime skyscraper it had more generous stories than later structures of the kind, higher ceilings, an airier interior. Office doors were frosted in the old-fashioned way, prevalent when natural daylight still had value with de

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