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An Instagram gathering at the Hearst Building hosted by Esquire Magazine

Story by Dave Krugman May 24th, 2014

What is the #esqinstameet?

As Instagram continues its meteoric rise, brands are increasingly turning to the service to create far-reaching digital experiences to connect with a large community of consumers that are shifting away from traditional media and towards their smartphones. In order to build strong communities around their brand, many institutions are inviting influencers and artists into the fold- encouraging them to flex their creative muscles and share the experience with their followers. @esquiremag and @hearstcorp hosted a few of us on this most recent iteration- below is my coverage of the experience. Special thanks to @zabelita for her hard work in organizing this experience.


towering over the park

From above, you can really see the scale (and importance) of Central Park, a true oasis in the center of a concrete desert. Without this preserved green escape, the crush of the city would be overwhelming.


Room with a View

The unique architecture of the Hearst Corp. Building features some incredible angled windows which provide stunning views of the city below. Because the glass isn’t perpendicular to the floor at 90 degrees, you can lean over the city and get an incredible, vertigo-inducing perspective.


Creativity at new heights

When you invite creatives into a space with such visual appeal, you can expect them to find new ways to capture what they see. Below, photographer @samthecobra captures his own reflection in the glass behind him, which merged his own image with the city hundreds of feet below.


Flipping the switch

Conference rooms in the Hearst Corp. Building have Liquid Crystal doors- and their opacity can be controlled with a simple flip of a switch. Need privacy? Just press the button. Need transparency? Just flip it back. We had a blast playing with the different looks, creating shapes and shadows behind the fogged up panels.



One of the most visually striking scenes in the building is the cascading waterfall that is sliced through by three escalators. I couldn’t help but think this lobby was designed with photographers in mind. It was perfectly lit and had everything we needed to capture it from a variety of different angles, showcasing the incredible design that welcomes all who enter Hearst. Here @kevin.ornelas rides down and poses for the rest of us.


Physical city

Looking southeast over Eighth Avenue, light shimmered between blocks of buildings, and we were stunned by the scale and density of the city we live in. It’s hard to see from street level, but forty stories up, through clear bay windows, it’s easier to understand the impossible immensity of New York City.


The creative process

You’ll never know what you can get out of artists when you provide them with so many visual options, but you do know that if you choose the right people, they can create beautiful images in any situation. When @gab posed in the window, @twheat was quick to capture the moment, and I was quick to capture his.


Tools of the trade

The iPhone is such an amazing creative tool. Resting my 5s against the angled window in my favorite room in the building, I was able to catch this time-lapse video- revealing the systematic beauty of the ebb and flow of city traffic patterns. It always reminds me of blood cells, flowing through the arteries of a giant organism.



Spotless mirrors in the incredibly quiet and quick elevators lead to ample opportunities for reflected group shots while we bounced around from floor to floor. Here is about half our crew on our way up to the 41st floor.


Rare perspectives

Looking out from all four corners of the building, we were treated to amazing perspectives that none of us had ever seen- such as this top-down angle on a high end roof deck bar on the Upper East Side. People milled about, drinking martinis and looking at iPads, completely unaware of our presence above.


Under control

This video editing suite looked like the control center for a spaceship. I tried as hard as I could to not hit any buttons. It was extremely difficult to resist, but I’m proud to say no harm was done.


The new creators

The rise of Instagram has enabled an entirely new generation of artists to document and share their experiences with an audience that is larger than anything they had imagined even a few years ago. Advances in technology and the increase in network bandwidth have empowered individuals, and have led to the rise of a new model of media. Here are a few of these people: @jungletimer, @mimizinne, @twheat, @samthecobra, @zabelita, @whighfield, and a group shot from the lobby.


Blue hour on top of the city

The inimitable @karim.mustafa does his best Batman pose above New York City. This stunning room has some of the best views of the city I’ve ever seen, and it was a magnificent place to witness blue hour from. Lights flickered on in distant buildings as the sun dipped lower, and we waited for the moment of balance to capture this silhouetted portrait.


Celebrating a day of creativity

We were all impressed by the foresight and hospitality of the Esquire/ Hearst team. From the moment we walked in to the building, to the grand finale of Champagne at sunset on the highest floor of the Hearst Building, we were made to feel valued and welcome. You can read it all in our smiles here- a day spent with friends, new and old, doing what we love- creating imagery and exploring new spaces. Take a moment to check out the images from the #esqinstameet hashtag- you won’t be disappointed.

Hearst Corporation, West 57th Street, New York, NY, United States