3 min read

Day 21: Holly Hill Lane

Day 21: Holly Hill Lane
81 Holly Hill Lane, the WWF's headquarters from 1983-85

Jersey City, NJ (Population: 262,652)/Hudson County (2020 Election Results: +16 Biden)

Miles Driven: 226.79 (4,704.77 total/Cups of Coffee: 3 (60 total)/Lowest Gas Price: $4.59/Number of States Visited: 19

Lodging: My buddies Luke and Irene's house (thanks Luke and Irene!)

To tell the stories of 1980s WWF wrestlers, you have to tell the story of Vincent Kennedy McMahon, who all these years later, at 76, is still running creative for the now-WWE (although he had to recently step aside as CEO due to his own board's investigation of alleged hush money payments to sexual partners).

And to tell the story of Vincent McMahon, you have to visit Greenwich, CT, the blue-blood suburb of New York City that drips wealth and power.

Vince and his wife Linda moved to Greenwich in later 1983 from South Yarmouth, MA to put down roots within striking distance of Madison Square Garden, their capital venue, which often drew more than 20,000 people to its monthly cards. Their company, Titan Sports, was a mom-and-pop (they had just bought the company from Vince's father and his partners the previous year for about $750,000), and according to old documents, headquarters were at 81 Holly Hill Lane. So today, that is where I went.

Holly Hill Lane parallels the main drag of West Putnam Avenue, which is a runway of luxury car dealearships--Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche, and on. Take a left heading southwest off this main strip and you are quickly in a leafy, quiet neighborhood with curvy roads. I come around a bend and to the left see a sign for the town dump, and just past that is the softball field, still in operation, where Howard Finkel and other office employees would play their games while Lord Alfred Hayes (a former wrestler turned commentator) looked on sipping a soda can full of gin.

Past the dump, on the left-hand side and guarded by two five-foot stone pillars, is the same building that once housed the entire Federation. The company was so small that they all fit on one floor (the third).

It's a Saturday, with enervating heat, and so mopping my brow and slugging some water, I park the Fusion out front and walk towards the building entrance in the carport, which underlies the offices. The building is modest and simple, probably built in the late 1960s, and a far cry from the WWE's current headquarters on East Main Street in nearby Stamford, so close to I-95 you can practically touch it reaching out your car window, 8 stories with a giant WWE marquee on top along with the American flag.

WWE's current headquarters in Stamford, CT

The entrance to 81 Holly Hill Lane is little more than a hallway and elevator, and a single black wheelchair sits by the door. I try the door and am shocked to find it open. A sign on the wall lists the current tenants--one on the first floor, four on the second, and just as in 1983, a sole occupant of the third: Greenwich Medical Associates.

I climb the stairs to the third floor and in the hallway find a TV screen tilted 90 degrees, as if knocked down during a quick escape. For the second time in the past minute, I'm shocked to see a door completely unlocked, this time the entrance to the Greenwich Medical Assoicates' suite.

Looking back over my shoulder and scanning in all directions, I slowly push the door open into a darkened space, bracing myself for an alarm or sudden appearance of a security guard, but none appears. I flick on overhead lights and creep down the hallway, past rooms that once held the WWF's chief executives but now hold examination tables and treadmills for stress-testing hearts. I wonder which one belonged to Vince.

And then I see a laptop on a stool in the hallway, and what appears to be a light on in the office, and I realize I might be in trouble.


Brad Balukjian is on a nine-week road trip, driving 16,000 miles around the country for his next book, The Six Pack, to be published by Hachette in 2024, about myth vs. reality in pro wrestling and the true identities of 1980s WWF wrestlers.