The Second-Lives Club
A farm, a post office, a millinery, a chorizo factory, and other converted spaces that make for picturesque party spots.
The Former Metal Foundry:
In the 1800s, the Albra Metal Foundry melted scraps of metal to recast for the city’s many manufacturers. Today the 2,000-square-foot building still retains its industrial roots with tons of exposed brick throughout the multilevel space, original ovens and cauldrons, and an abundance of ivy growing along the outside and in the courtyard. The chimney shafts are all original, and one of them actually contains the bridal suite. (With a simple padded bench, a few mirrors, and a skylight, this space is meant for touch-ups and a quick respite, not an overnight stay.) The indoor space can fit 200 guests for a cocktail party or up to 125 for a sit-down dinner. Rental fees, which cover twelve hours, range from $5,200 to $11,200 for the main space; couples must book their own caterers. Because dates in peak months get booked quickly, the venue recommends reserving fourteen to eighteen months in advance. 42-38 9th St., Long Island City; 718-786-7776; thefoundry.info.
The Former Printing Factory:
This space started out as a printing and typesetting facility in 1931 and, if you look closely, you can still see metal shavings from that era embedded in the finish of the hardwood floors. The venue’s owners have maintained its industrial feel, preserving the original steel beams and girders and outfitting the space with elements made of reclaimed shipping crates, corrugated-steel panels, and wood joists from decommissioned water towers. The 9,500-square-foot building also features 75 large windows with generous views of the Manhattan skyline and Queensboro Bridge. Attic can hold 200 people for a cocktail reception and 175 for a sit-down dinner in the main event space (Studio A), though smaller ancillary studios (B and C) can also be rented. Price upon request. Couples must use their own vendors. 11-05 44th Rd., Long Island City; 718-360-1978; atticstudios.net.
The Former Presidential Abode:
Roosevelt House at Hunter College
This neo-Georgian double townhouse was once home to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, as well as FDR’s mother, Sara. Roosevelt even delivered his first presidential radio address from the drawing room. The stately space reopened in 2010, and now serves as the headquarters for Hunter College’s Public Policy Institute. Up to 75 people can be accommodated for sit-down dinners, and 125 for cocktail parties. The first floor, where weddings take place, offers mirror-image reception areas on both sides of the house, with big windows, elegant moldings, hardwood floors, and decorative fireplaces. Price upon request. Vendors must be approved by the venue. 47–49 E. 65th St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-650-3174; roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu.
The Former Chorizo Factory:
632 on Hudson
Before it was a full-time event space, this antiques-filled West Village triplex had many lives: It started off as a townhouse for a sash-maker prior to becoming a general store, and then was a chorizo factory until 1992. The building now offers a variety of party-ready spaces: a soaring atrium, an Art Deco lounge, a Chinese-inspired den, a re-created Edwardian kitchen, a rooftop garden, and a ground-floor Art Deco “speakeasy.” Indoor ceremonies usually take place in the first-floor atrium. The three floors can accommodate cocktail parties or partially seated dinners for up to 130 people. For additional space, couples can also rent 632Below, located on the ground floor. Site fees start at $9,000, and couples must use their own vendors. 632 Hudson St., nr. Horatio St.; 212-620-7631; 632onhudson.com.
The Former Post Office:
Skylight at Moynihan Station
Couples looking for a mix of old-school grandeur and industrial glamour will find it in this storied space, located in the James A. Fwarley Post Office building. Completed in 1912, it boasts a Beaux Arts exterior. Inside, it’s unexpectedly raw, with concrete floors and exposed steel beams. The massive event space, which has hosted runway shows during Fashion Week, includes the 41,000-square-foot former mail-sorting room and the 33,000-square-foot postal dock, which still has its original peaked skylight. Hosting 1,000 people for cocktails or 700 for dinner is no problem here. The challenge is filling the space, which a planner can handle with a complete custom build-out. Price upon request. 360 W. 33rd St., nr. Eighth Ave.; 212-736-6200; skylightnyc.com.
The Former Bank:
Skylight One Hanson
It’s hard to miss the clock tower of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, once the tallest building in Brooklyn. The interior is no less impressive, with soaring 63-foot ceilings and 22 different types of marble in the floor alone. You can still see vestiges of its days as a bank, such as the teller stations, which line the cavernous event space. Ceremonies can take place inside the 3,500-square-foot vault, which still has its original doors and Art Deco marble. A mosaic map of the zodiac on the ceiling, meant to represent “dreams of future riches,” is also preserved, arching over the entire main room (and hopefully boding well for the couple’s future bounty). The opulent venue holds 1,000 for a cocktail party and up to 600 for a sit-down dinner with dancing. Weddings start at $350 per person, which includes catering, bar, and site fee, or couples can choose to bring in their own caterers. 1 Hanson Pl., at Ashland Pl., Fort Greene; 718-230-0400; skylightnyc.com.
From the Winter 2014 New York Wedding Guide