Old New York is alive and well at this updated Lower Manhattan gem steps from the Brooklyn Bridge.
NEW YORK – The first time I saw inside The Beekman, it wasn’t The Beekman. In 2010, it was still Temple Court, an abandoned 19th-century office building in lower Manhattan’s Financial District. Its crumbling walls were the backdrop for a Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot with the supermodel Iman. The photos reminded me of Addicted to Love, one of my favorite ‘90s movies set in New York, where Matthew Broderick and Meg Ryan move into an abandoned SoHo loft.
The days of abandoned buildings up for grabs in prime Manhattan locales are history. But during Temple Court’s 2016 transformation from forgotten architectural gem to one of the most stunning hotels in New York City, its past wasn’t erased — it was brought back to life. I’ve never been interested in wearing a smoking jacket or drinking a glass of brandy, but at The Beekman, where a Gilded-Age filter is applied to every stay, both of those activities are perfectly reasonable.
The Beekman draws on its past for inspiration. Before Temple Court, it was Clinton Hall, home to the Mercantile Library Association (whose members included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and Henry David Thoreau) and NYU’s inaugural class of 1832. Before that, it was the Chapel Street Theatre where Shakespeare’s Hamlet made its New York debut in 1761. Hundreds of years of academic, creative, and literary achievements have culminated in these old bones — and now you can travel back in time without sacrificing 21st-century luxuries.
The Beekman is located in the Financial District near the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, a contemporary of Temple Court (both landmarks were completed in 1881). You’re within a skip of Tribeca, the Fulton Center transit hub, and a fifteen-minute walk from SoHo.
Everything screams 19th-century New York, but nothing is old-fashioned. Dark-wood walls, hand-woven carpets, velvet sofas, fringed lampshades, and dim lighting are straight out of a period film, even as it’s clear as day that you’re in the 21st century with complimentary WiFi, Italian sateen sheets on the beds, and world-class restaurants downstairs.
This Place is Perfect For
Creatives and Wall-Street types who will blend in with the well-heeled locals who pack out the lobby bar every night.
But Not So Perfect For
Families with kids. Or anybody who wants to be in the middle of the action, like the Village, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, or Central Park.
What’s On Site
The hotel has a 24-hour fitness center with Peloton studio spin bikes. In-room spa services can be arranged by contacting the front desk. A complimentary house car is available on a first come, first-served basis to take you anywhere within one mile of the hotel.
Food + Drink
The rich history of the property is translated into rich dishes at Temple Court Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu by acclaimed chef Tom Colicchio is on the pricier side, with portions on the smaller side, but flavorful, turn-of-the-century dishes like the creamy lobster thermidor, Berkshire pork Wellington, and roasted duck a l’orange are worth it. Order the five-course tasting menu for an extravagant culinary experience.
Directly beneath the hotel’s nine-story atrium, The Bar Room is where local creatives and bankers from nearby Wall Street gather nightly for everything from cocktails to champagne and cognac. Almost every plush, leather seat is likely to be claimed, so it’s best to go early or make a reservation.
Keith McNally’s Augustine is a brasserie-style restaurant in the vein of his other famous New York creations, like The Odeon, Pastis, and Balthazar. Here, the ambience departs from 19th-century New York and takes you to Belle Époque Paris with chandeliers, mirrored walls, and French classics like foie gras and steak frites.
Japanese beer, whiskey, and izakaya comfort food are on the menu at Alley Cat Amateur Theater. Serge Becker of The Box and La Esquina lends his creative direction to the club, which saw a century-old mechanical room transformed into an intimate lounge that blends the eclectic individuality of Tokyo’s secret bars with the classic American cocktail club.
Number of Rooms
287, including 38 suites.
Tall ceilings and dreamy beds cloaked in Sferra linens are enough to entice you upstairs. Carrara marble bathrooms, complete with rain showers and fragrant D.S. & Durga amenities, feature a sliding barn door that can be closed to separate the spa-like bath from the room. Velvet couches, embroidered bar carts, and armoire-style closets give rooms a vintage feel, while modern comforts include WiFi, a locally-curated gourmet minibar, and Neuhaus Belgian chocolates at turndown.
Due to the narrow streets of the Financial District, most rooms have a view that only goes as far as the building across the street. (The exception is the Premium Terrace, which features a 180-square-foot patio with city views.) Dim lighting is featured throughout, in keeping with the ambience of ye olde New York.
Forget the traditional, windowless hotel hallway. Many rooms are located directly off the hotel’s nine-story atrium with Victorian balustrades and railings. During the day, the atrium floods each floor with natural light. At night, it creates an enchanting ambience for those enjoying drinks and bites in the lobby-level Bar Room or returning to their rooms upstairs.
What to Do Nearby
Many significant architectural and historical sites are located down the street from the hotel. On the steps of Federal Hall, an 1842 rebuild of the original, George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States. Across the street, the New York Stock Exchange, completed in 1903, is the financial capital of the world.
Wake up with a cup of Intelligentsia at Blue Spoon Coffee Roasters and end the night at The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, an excellent watering hole and one of the coziest joints in the neighborhood. Luxury brand shoppers will find what they are looking for at Westfield World Trade Center, including a casual lunch at chef Daniel Boulud’s Epicerie Boulud — all located under the same roof of the stunning Oculus, designed by acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava.
A stay in the Financial District also means proximity to the right side of the river. Hop on the NYC Ferry at Wall Street/Pier 11 and jet across the East River to Brooklyn neighborhoods like Dumbo, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint in mere minutes. Check out Fathom's Brooklyn guide for inspiration.