We first saw the hidden wonder that is 5 Beekman Street this summer, when blogger/film scout Scouting NY found "the most beautiful atrium in New York City" hidden inside. The building?soon to become a hotel called Beekman Palace?wasn't always a buried treasure, and the Times takes a look at its history. Here now, your 5 Beekman cheat sheet, past, present, and future.
· The building was built by banker/Irish immigrant Eugene Kelly, who had amassed the nineteenth-century equivalent of $630 million by the time he died
· 5 Beekman was originally called the Kelly Building and cost $400,000 to build, one of a new wave of 9-story buildings popping up between 1870 and 1890 between Bowling Green and City Hall
· By the time it was built, it had been renamed Temple Court, and it received only one negative review, which called the building's two towers "donkey's ears"
These days, no one's saying anything about donkey ears. Since building broker Hillel Spinner invited Scouting NY over for photos this summer, there's been a rush of phone calls (so many that Spinner asked Scouting NY to take down the photos) and film shoots. Supermodel Iman, like Alexandra Richards, frolicked there for a photo shoot (though the ostrich she brought along had some trouble getting to the ninth floor). The AMC show "Rubicon" also used 5 Beekman as a foreign torture chamber.
While TV crews and models have been crawling around its top floors, 5 Beekman's future has been embroiled in a $50 million lawsuit over a defaulted construction loan. But the two owners, Bonjour Capital and the Chetrit Group, are apparently near a settlement. Next up, they plan to sell it to someone who will turn it into a 200-room luxury hotel. So we might all have more luck getting in as TV extras.
· Temple Court's Architectural Charm is Rediscovered [NYT]
· 5 Beekman Street coverage [Curbed]