11.01.16 / New York

An Illustrated History Of The Beekman Hotel

In the last year, Anouk Colantoni has transformed her passion for illustration into a creative platform. Her self expression through sensual, sweet, and quirky caricatures capture the feelings of a young woman in a big city, and led to her first solo exhibit at Wallplay and commissions from major brands. Recently Colantoni was tapped by the Beekman Hotel ahead of their long-awaited opening, to capture the spirit of the famed building in the way she knows best.

What did you aim to capture about the hotel and the space?

I aimed to capture the romance of the The Beekman. The Beekman’s intricate and intelligent structure, has remained steadfast as New York City has morphed and modernized around it; and has truly stood the test of time. The details from the Gothic dragon iron, to the storybook-like turrets – tell a tale of times in New York come and gone. The beautiful, luxurious new comforts and finishings invite you in to stay and make your own moment New York history in such a special way – I was lucky enough to be invited in before the doors reopened to take creative license in visualizing and expressing the richness of the details in the iconic rooms.

What was your favorite part of the hotel?

The Turret suites with their own personal rooftop gardens are my favorite spaces in the hotel.. There are two of them, they are filled with one of a kind art, restored architecture and luxurious clawfoot baths, views of Downtown New York like no other – I would like to live like The Little Princess in there is my dream!

I adore the cast iron dragons, a symbol of wisdom and longevity, and the features of a Renaissance Revival glass ceiling and built from granite, red Philadelphia brick and tan Dorchester stone.

Did you learn anything new about New York from doing this project?

As a French/Australian artist living here in New York, I feel like I knew nothing before I researched this project! I came to this project as a lover of the city today, and then delved so deeply into the city’s past allowed me to somehow become a part of it, to feel like I have some understanding of the energy that exists only here. It gave me also a great cultural overview of what was going on across America and the world at large over the past 120 years – the city being the home to some of the greatest musical movements – the Jazz Age – home to literary giants I love – Poe, Ginsberg – and learning about the history of all the iconic Art Deco buildings that raced up to make the city sky line that I love.

What was the most interesting thing you discovered about the building itself?

I marvel at how this one steadfast structure has constantly transformed itself and invited so many new inhabitants over the years to create great things within its walls, from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Broadway Journal which was first made in the building in 1845, to the fact it housed lawyers, architects and advertising agencies – how it rose again after a huge fire and after over 60 years being uninhabited, to burst back to life as this new luxurious hotel… wild!

What are you most looking forward to at the hotel…Keith McNally’s restaurant opens this week!

Oh yes sir – I am all about the opening of Augustine, the latest of McNally’s restaurants to open – Ill be in a booth or at the bar for a Kir Royale (yes, I think I’m in the ’70s) and some oysters, tout de suite!

Check out Anouk’s newest mural at The Flowershop later this month, and pick up her prints right HERE

  • The first performance of Hamlet in NYC was performed at the location in 1761, which was then the Chapel Street Theater. In 1845 Edgar Allen Poe published The Broadway Journal from the building, a far more romantic image than that of budding authors typing on Macbooks in Starbucks.

  • In the early 1900’s, The Woolworth Building joined the growing downtown district. The Beekman was called Temple Court, and it was a meeting place for the titans of industry: attorneys, architects, and publishers. Boutique hotels serve the same function today, but with graphic designers, publicists, and DJs.

  • In the roaring ’20s, however, the downtown crowd headed uptown for Harlem jazz. Nearly a century later, the downtown crowd groans at the thought of going past 14th street.

  • In the ’50s the crowd heads back downtown as the Rat Pack , the Beatniks, and Marilyn Monroe begin to exert their influence. We’re patiently waiting on the second coming of any of them…

  • In the ’90s 5 Beekman (officially called The Beekman) becomes a landmarked building…but everyone is too transfixed by Marky Mark and Kate Moss in #TheirCalvins to notice.

  • The Turret Suite

    Flash forward to today, and the Seaport District is buzzier than ever. Between the Gilded Age decor and a Keith McNally restaurant, people are flocking to 5 Beekman, many for the first time. Young illustrators spend nights in the decadent Turret suite, with an oyster in one hand and a Kir Royale in the other.

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