Check out the ‘most socially distanced office’ — in the middle of the East River

Emerald Pellot
·2 min read

Improv Everywhere is a New York-based comedy troupe known for its unexpected flash mobs.

For its latest mission, the group created the “most socially distanced office” … in the middle of the East River. A floating office with a desk, wi-fi, a battery-powered computer and file cabinet was set on the water. To reach the island-like office, workers arrived by a shuttle boat docked at Pebble Beach in Brooklyn’s Main Street Park.

Improv Everywhere collaborated with Tideland Institute, an agency that creates spaces on water, to pull off the project.

“This project was inspired by conversations we had with our friends at Tideland Institute, whose mission is to promote culture on New York’s water,” Improv Everywhere said in a press release. “In thinking about things we could do that would be COVID-19 safe, we got excited about the idea of creating something in the middle of the river. With everyone working from home in cramped apartments, we thought a socially distanced office would be the perfect thing.”

Footage of the prank showed an employee board the floating office and take a Zoom meeting. Passersby on boats gawked at the absurdity of the man as he tried to conduct business as usual. One person even called him a “legend.”

“For those on land who asked about the project, we pretended that it was a Department of Buildings pilot program,” Improv Everywhere stated. “Agent Glo Tavarez posed as a DOB employee asking people for feedback on the program. She claimed the DOB was building 4,000 of these offices on the East River in the spring, with an additional 6,000 to follow on the Hudson River by summer.”

To make matters more convincing the improv troupe installed a fake DOB construction sign and showed anyone who asked a mockup of a fake building. The mission was a success according to Improv Everywhere, in part because a woman on a passing ship, Kaitlyn Frey, filmed the incident and posted it on TikTok. The floating office video was viewed over 1 million times before anyone found out it was all a prank!

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