By Carter B. Horsley
With its dark buff-colored
brick façade with terra-cotta trim and a limestone base,
the Beekman Hotel, as it is known, has the appearance of a dusty
and sedate dowager: elegantly conservative, but a bit dour.
Step inside, however, and you
might think you hear the flourish of brightly garbed trumpeters
as the lobby is supremely impressive with superb and rich detailing.
A large and handsome concierge station precedes a small flight
of stairs to the elegant elevator bank and the ambiance is quite baronial
and the equal of the finest small hotels in Europe.
The building was designed by
George F. Pelham in an Italian Renaissance style and completed
in 1927. It has 130 cooperative apartments, all with fireplaces.
An adjoining building on 63rd Street was subsequently expanded
into, but its apartments have no fireplaces. Most of the units
are relatively small as the building has 349 rooms and 218 bathrooms.
The small apartments have long
been popular as pièd-a-terres given the building's prime
location and its residents over the years have included former
New York Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz, politician Stanley
Steingut, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr., entertainers Steve Lawrence
and Eydie Gorme, and financier Henry Kaufmann.
A large restaurant in the building,
the Park Avenue Cafe, has its own entrance on 63rd Street and
its space was formerly occupied by two other famous restaurants,
Hubert's and Le Perigord Park.