Is Lower Manhattan New York City’s Next Most Coveted Place to Live?

Seaport District

 

On a drizzly winter day recently, we took a temporary elevator up to the dizzying heights of the elaborate construction project that is One Wall Street. This historic 1920’s building is on its way to becoming the most fashionable place to live below Canal Street – though it’s still a couple of years from completion.

The odd thing is, there was a time not all that long ago, when very few people would have found excitement in the opportunity to acquire a Wall Street home address. Who, after all, wanted to live amongst the bankers during the week, and amidst all the veritable desolation at the weekends?

 

One Wall Street

 

But the financial giants have mostly decamped to Midtown, leaving behind a visually striking neighborhood with an almost European-like maze of streets, and a wealth of historic architecture. And despite the banking exodus, views from some of what will be One Wall Street’s most coveted apartments will still be directly into the Stock Exchange (though we don’t recommend spying for stock tips). Still others, especially at the higher floors, boast views that seem to stretch across the Hudson to, well, eternity.

Curious to experience the new vibe of Lower Manhattan, we recently checked in to the glorious and glamorous Beekman hotel on Nassau Street, with the mission of spending a couple of days “living” in the neighborhood. Here’s all that we discovered.

 

Seaport District

It’s gotten some decent press, but still seems slightly a under the radar: the new Seaport District, replacing the old South Street Seaport – which was devastated in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy – now thrums with energy and new life. The twin recent openings of high-fashion emporium 10 Corso Como and the Mr. C hotel both fit nicely within the vaguely Euro aesthetic of one of NYC’s only real remaining historic neighborhoods. The former carries cognoscenti-prized labels like Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe, Vetements and Comme des Garçons, while at its exceedingly stylish namesake restaurant, one can indulge in a lunch or dinner of beautifully presented pastas, risottos and branzino rapiene, as well as a fair amount of seeing-and-being-seen. There’s also a photography gallery, which features provocative, R-rated exhibitions of the likes of Helmut Newton and Salvador Dalí. (So, you know…don’t bring the kiddies.)
Mr. C is the signature hospitality brand of the Cipriani scions, with a chic Italo vibe and fashionable Bellini restaurant and bar. It almost feels more like Rome than NYC.
Nearby Pier 17 offers the rare Manhattan opportunity to commune with the East River, boasting a rooftop concert series, and new restaurants on the way from celeb chefs Jean-Georges, David Chang and Andrew Carmellini.

10 Corso Como

 

Brookfield Place

Imagine if you took Madison Avenue, transported it below Chambers Street, and added a ridiculously decadent food market – it would be, well, Brookfield Place. And to be sure, you can seriously burn through your luxury fashion budget, with Ferragamo, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Davidoff, Gucci, Burberry, Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors…we could go on (even Saks has a men’s outpost here). But if you favor personal growth over financial diminishment, North Cove Sailing School will teach you to navigate the high seas winds, and ICE Culinary Eduction to skillfully navigate the contemporary kitchen.
If you’re the type to prefer someone else to do the cooking, at Hudson Eats you can flit from Blue Ribbon Sushi to Dos Toros Taqueira, Skinny Pizza to Umami Burger, Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue to Dig Inn Seasonal Market, all while attempting to stave off the almost certain culinary apoplexy. Nearby, the glorious Le District is like being airdropped to Paris’ Les Halles – and includes the sceney Beaubourg brasserie, which seems like it could just as easily be in NoLIta or MePa.
Coming Soon to Brookfield: An outpost of the wellness mecca Clean Market.

 

Brookfield Place

 

Food & Drink

Once a culinary and hospitality wasteland of tired pubs and testosterone-fueled steakhouses, now you can indulge in everything from designer Italian to escargots de Bourgogne to world class cocktails in the same day, without ever having to cross the border into Tribeca. Two new hotels offer radically different epicurean experiences: at the Moxy Downtown NYC‘s Recreation, DJs and skeeball provide the entertainment, while you consume creative flatbreads and on-tap cocktails like the Margarita al Pastor; over at the fittingly lavish Four Seasons, Wolfgang Puck’s Jacques-Garcia-designed CUT is like a posh culinary world tour, offering everything from Maine lobster to Italian burrata to Japanese Wagyu in very sexy surrounds.
The Blue Ribbon Federal Grill has one of the best happy hours, with $6 Ferrari shots and a build-your-own-gin-and-tonic program. Over on Water Street, Dead Rabbit remains one of the entire universe’s most exalted cocktail havens – while fashionable sorts flock to The Wooly Public in the Woolworth Building, and Jayma Cardoso’s insidery Mailroom at 100 Wall.
For special occasion dining, Danny Meyer’s of-the-moment Manhatta does an $88 3-course pre-fixe, 60 stories up above Liberty Street. Book way ahead.

 

CUT at the Four Seasons

 

The Oculus

We’ve been in awe of Spanish superstar architect Santiago Calavtrava since his City of Arts & Sciences was unveiled in Valencia in 1998. And say what you will about all the budgetary nightmares, his Oculus, built on the site of Ground Zero, inspires untold awe and promises a positively heart-stopping visual treat. The shopping experience is bit more quotidian, alas, but always worth a visit are John Varvatos, Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate and the sublime Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.
Make sure to spend some time at with the work of 50 street artists occupying the 69th floor of The World Trade Center.

 

Oculus Image ©Alan Karchmer

 

 

The Beekman Hotel

Despite our history of long nights spent within the sceney corridors of The Bowery Hotel and the Soho Grand, we don’t hesitate to admit that The Beekman – a Thompson Hotel – might now be our most beloved NYC sleep. A restored 19th Century masterpiece, its Moroccan and Western European influences shine through, especially in its dazzling nine-story Victorian atrium. Rooms charm with a low-key elegance, eschewing sleekness for refinement.
But the real draw is the perpetual scene, perhaps confirming the area’s new vitality. Tom Colicchio’s Temple Court is one of the city’s most sophisticated dining experiences, offering urbane updates on classics like pork wellington and chicken fricassee; its gorgeous, almost gothically styled Bar Room buzzes day and night with a particularly cosmopolitan crowd. And down the hall, Keith McNally’s Augustine does what he’s always done best: recreate the French brasserie experience in NYC.
Don’t forget to set aside at least an hour to peruse the hallways, taking in The Beekman’s impressive art collection.

 

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