One of SNY’s trademarks during its 11-year history has been a street-level studio on Sixth Avenue that allowed passing fans to wave to the cameras or say hello to their mothers on live television.
Starting Saturday, attempting to do so would be extremely hazardous to one’s health.
That is when a 10:30 p.m. episode of “SportsNite” is to launch a new era for the network, in a radically different home — on the 50th floor of 4 World Trade Center.
The views are spectacular, but there will be no more waving from outside the window, unless it comes from a bird who is a Mets fan.
SNY president Steve Raab called it “SNY 2.0,” an environment that not only is more scenic than its predecessor but also larger, more flexible and more technologically advanced.
The biggest change will be to the surroundings of newsroom workers who for the past decade have worked from a basement space underneath the midtown studios. Now all of lower Manhattan is at their feet.
Raab jokingly compared it to miners who rise to the surface after being trapped underground.
Does executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. worry the staff will be distracted by the views? “They’re going to be very happy,” he said. “Usually happy people do good work.”
Raab said the network long since had outgrown its old home, and took advantage of the newer, larger spaces opening downtown.
Rental space is cheaper by the square foot there than in midtown, but that hardly means the move is inexpensive. Far from it. Asked what the buildout cost, Raab said only, “A lot.” The bill is believed to run well into the eight figures.
SNY will be housed on the 49th and 50th floors, using 38,369 total square feet, up from 30,780 in its prior home. But the starkest contrast is in production space, which increased from 12,840 to 26,856 square feet.
Studio 41 — named for Tom Seaver’s uniform number — will be the primary baseball studio for Mets programming, and has several elements that reference Citi Field architecture, complete with a mini-Shea Bridge.
Studio 31 — named for Mike Piazza — will house “Sports Nite,” Jets shows and other programming.
The much smaller Studio 42 — named for Jackie Robinson — offers a panoramic backdrop of the East River, the iconic bridges that cross it and of Brooklyn.
The three studios total 3,700 square feet, with state-of-the-art lighting that can transform the look of sets in seconds.
The entire place smells new, but starting this weekend it at last will begin to develop a lived-in feel. The first full day of programming is Monday.
The move is reminiscent of WFAN leaving its storied basement in Astoria in 2009 after 22 years in favor of new studios in Tribeca with scenic views of lower Manhattan.
Just remember: No waving.