June 19, 2021   9:54am

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The EXIT sign

The other evening, doing reconnaissance of a NYC neighborhood (for a potential marketing project), I ended-up as a spectator at the Ace Hotel … “spectator,” because, honestly, if you’re over 40, you have no business being there.

Packed like sardines, the clientele is drinking, texting, writing, eating, standing, talking, definitely not sleeping.  There’s easily a couple hundred people lolling about, and I later learned that all the 20-somethings in my office had, of course, been there.  If you’re not-in-the-know, The Ace Hotel Group began in Seattle, expanded to Portland, Oregon, and has since gone on to Palm Springs and New York, where it’s created it’s own answer to what a hotel (and its adjoining restaurants, boutique, et al) should be.  The New York Ace helped revive the neighborhood.

But, I digress.  Checking the place out and and ohhhing and awwwing about the skillful space planning, art and interior design, we went through the lobby, turned right and found ourselves at an end point.  Except it actually wasn’t.  Above a revolving door was the legally required and glowing EXIT sign — around it, artfully stenciled in similarly large white type, was the following quote:

“Every EXIT is an entrance somewhere else.”*

What could be more perfect as you prepare to walk out a door?

I didn’t recall a credit for the quote and wondered if some Ace graphic designer/wordsmith devised it.  Later, a quick Google/Wikipedia search outed it as being from British playwright Tom Stoppard.  The play is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead whose minor characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern come from the play Hamlet.  In other words, The Ace took it from Stoppard who took it from Shakespeare; the Ace just neglected to mention Stoppard.

Regardless, while people say nothing is really new and everyone seems to think it’s okay to plagiarize without giving credit (although I don’t really believe either of those two things), the quote is in the right place at the right time.  It stuck with me.

So, whether old, new, admirable or just “borrowed,” the quote remains relevant … and a useful reminder that we never know what “ownable” personal experience may be just around the corner.

That’s what makes life interesting, and why I’m passing it on to you,


* You can see and, even, buy an image of the Ace EXIT sign here.

Snoety symbol