5 Beekman Street – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura

5 Beekman Street

This beautiful building in the heart of Manhattan's Financial District was empty for decades. 


In New York City, where space seems to be a luxury, as busy streets fill crowded edifices of offices and apartments, an abandoned nine-story building almost seems incredibly unlikely.

Located just one block from City Hall, 5 Beekman Street is more than just an awe-inspiring structure; it is more like an inside secret. Tourists, businessmen and regulars pass it without knowing about the mystery behind its brick terra-cotta disguise. Having been vacant for nearly a decade with parts of it shuttered since the 1940s, this elegant building does not accommodate a single soul.

Architecturally speaking however, it is physical testimony of some of New York City’s earliest surviving pre-skyscraper office buildings, being just the third building in the city to accommodate an elevator. This Victorian-style late 19th century building is one of few in Manhattan that has a full height atrium and skylight, embellished with detailed cast-iron railings and ceilings.

For having been built in 1882, 5 Beekman Street is in superb condition. The preservation of this architectural wonder is due in large part to its long dormancy. In 1940 the atrium was boarded up with sheets of wood because of fire code regulations, but has since been brought back up to code. Unlike other frameworks from its time, it has not been modified or changed much, keeping intact a rich piece of history in the Big Apple.

Update: The old building has been converted into a high-end hotel, open as of September of 2016. 

Know Before You Go

The lobby and restaurants within the hotel are publicly accessible.

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