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The Abandoned Palace at 15 Beekman Street
June 16, 2010 4:25 PM   Subscribe

The Abandoned Palace at 15 Beekman Street [via mefi projects] (I think it's actually 5 Beekman street, but whatever. The photos are amazing.)
posted by Nothing... and like it (51 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's unpossible. Such a building sitting unused in Manhattan for so long...
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on June 16, 2010


Amazing building; what the hell is the story about why it's been abandoned for so long?
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:33 PM on June 16, 2010


I have no idea why they left it so empty, what a waste - does this guy get paid for taking photos like that ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:34 PM on June 16, 2010


Wow. My friends and I once discovered, in downtown London Ont., an apartment that had been sealed up untouched since the 1920s, and similarly in downtown Calgary an old house completely forgotten since the early 70s, but this is many orders of magnitude more incredible. Lucky scout!
posted by Flashman at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2010


does this guy get paid for taking photos like that ?

He's a film location scout so I imagine he gets compensated in some way.
posted by ghharr at 4:38 PM on June 16, 2010


That's not too far from here, I've seen the building and noted the unusual architecture, but it never registered that it's empty.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:52 PM on June 16, 2010


My if-I-win-the-lottery dream has always been to find an old building that's been abused by modernization and restore it to what it was. I love love love this post.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2010


That's amazing. I work nearby and had no idea. It's gorgeous.
posted by Mavri at 5:00 PM on June 16, 2010


Wow. Excellent photographs!
posted by cell divide at 5:04 PM on June 16, 2010


It reminds me a lot of the Bradbury Building in downtown L.A., although that building has been maintained, is not nearly as large, and about 11 years younger than 5 Beekman. The Bradbury feels almost claustrophobic compared to this place.
posted by Badgermann at 5:18 PM on June 16, 2010


Reminds me of Blade Runner.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:52 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I may have missed it, but did no homeless people figure out that this building was abandoned? That in itself would be amazing.
posted by HopperFan at 5:56 PM on June 16, 2010


THIS. IS. AWESOME
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on June 16, 2010


I used to work next door to this building and never knew.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:06 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So who has owned it in recent years? The city?
posted by R. Mutt at 6:43 PM on June 16, 2010


Just...wow.
posted by slogger at 6:43 PM on June 16, 2010


I can't even express how much I want that building to be restored properly, it would really be breathtaking if done right.
posted by Skorgu at 6:47 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amazing - it's in quite good shape for an abandoned building, inside and outside. It looks like somebody's been taking care of it, a little. Was ownership tied up in legal disputes or something?

Also, it needs to have several movies filmed inside it, pronto. The new owners sound like they want to restore it properly, and that's wonderful, but this is the crown jewel of abandoned buildings.

Or what about a graphic novel or webcomic set in there? *looks at The Whelk*
posted by Quietgal at 7:06 PM on June 16, 2010


Goddamn. I've probably walked by this at least once.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:07 PM on June 16, 2010


Completely unrelated data point : Glenn Beck tweeted about this same set of photos. (via)
posted by crunchland at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2010


As close as I can tell, the tax key for that parcel is 1-90-15, but it isn't listed online. You get jumped to 1-90-14 when you query for it, which is 3 Beekman St.

Streetview has an interesting shot of the property, apparently from sometime in '09, based on what the scaffolding permit says.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2010


"...hat the hell is the story about why it's been abandoned for so long?"

As a lifelong resident of Providence, let me say that the Mob and/or international espionage is at play. There is a machine laundering money, and part of what the machine does is pay property tax and basic maintenance on an abandoned building in a high-rent area, and pad-pad-pad the value, the income, or the loss the property generates, depending on the complexity of the machine. Lawyers and accountants who, generally, have no idea they're perpetuating a machine, keep things humming.

Since this is Manhattan, my money's on international espionage, as the locals and the feds aren't as corruptible as in Providence, and that's a big fucking building. The Fat Boys Institute =knows= who owns it, and they keep tabs on a spy network by leaving it undisturbed.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:26 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, always wondered about that building. Man, fantastic photographs.
posted by zvs at 7:35 PM on June 16, 2010


laundering money

I would think you could do that perfectly well with an operating building, and cover your trail a lot better. After all, if someone notices that an empty building is generating scads of revenue, it's going to raise some alarms, but excess revenue in an operating building would only show up in an audit. Even if it's international. intrigue, operating the building (and there are companies who will do that for a fee) would be more clandestine than leaving it empty.

Still, the fact that it isn't listed in the tax key is kind of suspicious...
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:37 PM on June 16, 2010


An operating buolding requires too much intervention, and this was likely a short-term scam that spiraled off into its own thing, forgotten by the larger machine... it's a couple dozen lines in a ledger some guy in Cleveland keeps for this lawyer in Tulsa, who has this client in Tallahasse, who owns a share of a company out of Seattle, who...
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:49 PM on June 16, 2010


They could just keep making buildings that look like this instead of post-modern brick and concrete monstrosities.
posted by amethysts at 7:50 PM on June 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


31 years before the Woolworth Building? Incredible it's survived for 130 years now.
posted by PHINC at 8:15 PM on June 16, 2010


All right, I reserve this phrase for special occasions and this is one of them.

Holy shit.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:40 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


How do I get in how do I get innnn?????
posted by Juicy Avenger at 8:40 PM on June 16, 2010


It'd be a worthwhile use of some of the rest of the time in this short life to work on that renovation, do my bit -- it'd be a gas to work on those windows day after day, rebuilding them back to specs. And it'd be great to work with an entire crew of dedicated craftsmen, hired because they have the skills to do the work correctly. A beautiful building, a wonderful project for those who get involved in it.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:44 PM on June 16, 2010


The wrought iron work found on so many older buildings is really breathtaking.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:54 PM on June 16, 2010


This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
posted by wander at 9:25 PM on June 16, 2010


I was able to google some business use of the address so I believe the reference to "abandoned since 1940" is only for the atrium. It's also possible that the upper floors have been closed if they couldn't meet code (post 9/11 code?), while lower floors remained leased.

This is a spectacular survivor. It's a wonder it survived intact. Did the businesses have internal elevator service, or was an elevator lobby walled off from the atrium? Presumably the doors to the balconies were all nailed shut, but if you had a cut glass door reflecting light from the sky you would surely be aware of it.
posted by dhartung at 9:39 PM on June 16, 2010


My God. I cannot convey how gorgeous that building is. If I win the $50million on Friday, I know what I'm buying...

They could just keep making buildings that look like this instead of post-modern brick and concrete monstrosities.

From your mouth to God's ear.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:56 PM on June 16, 2010


If you search for "Hospital Credit Exchange, Inc." you come up with a bunch of references to a notable legal case involving that entity from the later 1940s. It seems reasonable to assume that Hospital Credit Exchange was in that building at the time, along with other, similarly downmarket tenants.

This building is the 1880s version of Class AAA office space. Those lawyers really liked their dragon trusses, didn't they?
posted by killdevil at 9:57 PM on June 16, 2010


They could just keep making buildings that look like this instead of post-modern brick and concrete monstrosities.

The year is 1882. A massive post-and-beam lodge in the heart of the city.

And: "They could just keep making buildings that look like this instead of post-modern steel and glass monstrosities."

The year is...
posted by setanor at 10:17 PM on June 16, 2010


That building is beautiful. But I've got an over-active imagination, so as I scrolled through the page, I thought he would look up and up and up...and see a flock of tiny glass hummingbirds suspended in space, or an elephant on a hover-board reading a newspaper. Or maybe a floating field of sunflowers looking down on him. And instead it was just a picture of an atrium.
posted by colfax at 12:21 AM on June 17, 2010


I was born and raised in New York City and I have never, ever seen anything quite like that. That is an AMAZING find. I desperately hope that the owners do whatever they can to restore it as much as possible in the way that it was. What a stunning building.
posted by gen at 12:45 AM on June 17, 2010


wow, just ...wow. Lets pool our skills and resources, renovate it back to the way it was and all move in! I call dibs on the tower!
posted by dabitch at 2:03 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


OK, this Scouting NY site is pretty awesome (wasn't the recent FPP about the 1960s plane crash and the little boy from the same site?). Its series on NYC locations from iconic movies then and now is one of the coolest things I've seen in some time. So far they've done Taxi Driver, Ghostbusters and Rosemary's Baby. I can only pray they do The Warriors next, that would be so awesome.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:05 AM on June 17, 2010


Most cool.

I have to think, though, that it survived so well due to what appeared to be some serious craftsmanship and a serious lack of budgetary skimping.
posted by Samizdata at 4:26 AM on June 17, 2010


They could just keep making buildings that look like this instead of post-modern brick and concrete monstrosities.

If only. But think of the they involved. Architects who can draft free hand rather than by computer. Masons who can cut stone decoratively (some left at National Cathedral, but ingeneral...). Iron mongers hwo can wrought miles of decorative iron. Bricklayers who can lay with flair. At a price the bean counters will countenance. Easier then than now.

Which is why I get annoyed with buildings like this. I mean to say, he could have done anything.

How do I get in how do I get innnn?????

Wait until the owners finish renovation and book a room for the night.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:13 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


This reminds me of this, only real and awesome.
posted by graventy at 7:46 AM on June 17, 2010


I think it's a sad state affairs if the fact of the matter is "We just can't do that anymore".
posted by amethysts at 7:51 AM on June 17, 2010


For those MeFites that love this sort of thing... Detroit is a motherlode for this sort of thing, with building like the David Whitney that pretty much just got boarded up and have sat vacant (the Whitney since ~1990, some others since the late 60s)

(If I had a time machine, I'm going back to the tour of Michigan Central Station I had in 1991 and giving myself a camera....)

Although 5 Beekman is a stunning example of one of these forgotten treasures.
posted by kaszeta at 11:10 AM on June 17, 2010


This building is (or will be) beautiful, but that doesn't mean that buildings in other styles can't be beautiful as well.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2010


Wow.
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on June 17, 2010


I walked by the building yesterday and noticed several people photographing it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to ask them if they read the photo tour. (Internet effects IRL, film at 11.)
posted by whuppy at 5:55 AM on June 18, 2010


Andddd.... the owners made the blog owner pull the pictures down.
posted by killdevil at 9:58 PM on June 18, 2010


Gah. I found this too late. Did anyone mirror the pics?
posted by davejay at 12:24 AM on June 19, 2010


Looks like NYMag made a slideshow:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/06/texttk.html#photo=1x51186
posted by davejay at 12:26 AM on June 19, 2010


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