During the course of the last two thousand years, science has dramatically changed the way we view and understand time and space. For the better part of this period, the civilized world subscribed to the Ptolemaic, or geocentric model of the universe, which placed the earth at the center of the solar system. In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus, stood the world on its head, with his introduction of a heliocenteric model - placing the sun at the center of the universe.
Since then, we've been shaken up a good deal more than that. Scientists now tell us that space and time were born some 13.7 billion years ago, with the big bang. Far from being at the center at the universe, our solar system, along with everything else in the cosmos, is moving with great speed away from its original point of origin.
Albert Einstein, with his Theory of Special Relativity, helped us understand why we don't have to hold on to our chairs while we go hurtling through space. Actually, no one in the world understands this, save for a few mathematicians of the same rank, but he made it digestible for us simple folk.
Imagine, he said, that we are standing on the ground, watching an airplane sail across the sky. It appears to move slowly. However, if we were standing on a cloud right next to it, it would appear to rush past us at tremendous speed. Yet, the people inside the plane hardly feel as if they are moving at all.
In the good old days, we used to think of space as something finite, measured by length, width and height. Einstein threw in a fourth dimension - time. Einstein perceived that space around mass was actually curved. And that's not all. Time, as it turns out, is not linear at all. It actually slows down as you approach the speed of light.
Enough about Einstein, however. In the last twenty years, there has also been a re-conceptualization of time and space in the universe of commercial real estate. Fortunately this revolution in is much less abstract. Once we believed that an office space could only be leased by a single entity for a prescribed period of time.
This idea has been replaced by a virtual office model, which allows multiple tenants to coexist simultaneously in the same space. The Queens NY office building now known as the Executive Office Center at Fresh Meadows was once home to First Choice Real Estate - a single tenant - for over twenty years. Now, the same space is the professional business address of over 150 different companies. This doesn't have anything to do with space being curved or time being relative. It merely allows multiple tenants to utilize the same space at different times.
A lot of business owners here in Queens New York and elsewhere - people who work out of their homes, for example - are not familiar with the concept of virtual offices. They may associate the world virtual with ethereal or intangible. But the space and services provided by the Executive Office Center and other office business centers are very real, and very inexpensive. They include personalized Queens telephone answering, telephone and internet service, Queens mailbox rental, access to ready to use office space and conference rooms, and much much more.
In just two decades, the concept has spread across the globe, and can be found in every major metropolitan center in the world. It is such a practical and cost effective alternative to traditional office space, it is just a matter of time before it changes the rental marketplace forever.