New York City is a place where people tend to wander the streets looking skyward. It's an almost involuntary reflex, especially for those who do not frequent Manhattan on a regular basis.
This is understandable though, as the skyline here is unlike anything else and almost forces one's eyes toward the clouds. This feeling of awe is eventually dulled through time,
and the spectacle of New York architecture becomes but a distant memory to those who dwell or do business within it's boundaries. However, behind the closed and chained doors of
the Temple Court building can be found a sight that would turn even the most seasoned urbanite's face toward the sun.
In the center of this otherwise plain lobby lies perhaps the most beautiful atrium in all of New York. The amazing design work found herein allows one standing in the ground-floor lobby
a clear view of the sky through over nine floors of building. Just now being renovated, this atrium has been sealed away from view since the 1940 when it was deemed in violation of city firecode.
After it was hidden away behind walls of wood and concrete, many forgot about it altogether. Tenants moving into the office building after the entombment of the atrium would never even
be aware of its existence. In place of a nine-story open lobby workers here only saw only walls.
The Temple Court building itself has a long-standing history as a part of the New York skyline. Not only was it one of the original tall “fireproof” office buildings in New York City,
it is now the earliest surviving one. Harkening back to the days of old New York, and an era before the development of looming skyscrapers. Temple Court has remained essentially the same
since it's construction well over a century ago. Aside from minor upgrades, it looks more-or-less as it did upon opening. The peaked towers are part of the original design, and hint at an
architectural trend of pyramidal forms that later became popular in the skyscrapers that now watch over the building.
I, along with a small group of like-minded photographers, was granted access to the property to document things before any heavy renovations begin to take place. Unlike most of my work,
this building is not truly an “abandoned” place... simply a forgotten one. Being the third building in all of the city to have an elevator installed, I was quite excited to see it was still operating
on the day I was there filming. Running up and down nine flights of stairs, no matter how ornate and beautiful, was not an aspect of my trip which I was overly ecstatic about.
The plans call for this old office building to become the “Beekman Palace”, a grand hotel of some 180 rooms. I am sure that upon its reopening to the public few will be able to avoid
casting their gaze skyward, even if they haven't done so in many years.
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