Just last month my boyfriend discovered in the Garment District (29th and Broadway) that there is a Stumptown coffee shop! We were both very excited as we were introduced to the magnificence that is Stumptown coffee on our last vacation to the Seattle and Portland area. In Seattle there has been a battle between Stumptown and Starbucks and I think everyone agrees that Stumptown takes the cake. It’s always roasted locally and it’s always delicious. . . not burnt like the other stuff. The Stumptown in Manhattan is also locally roasted, (of course) in Red Hook Brooklyn. I guess they have been open for over a year now, but I’m hardly ever in that nook of town so without having previous knowledge of the company I may have never even found it.
The coffee shop is located inside of the grand Ace Hotel and coffee customers are more than welcome to hang out in the hotel’s lobby as there are no seats in the shop.
The other real gem about this find is the architecture and interior design of both the hotel and the coffee shop. when you turn the corner from Broadway on to 29th street, you feel as though you’re walking into a completely different neighborhood in another era. On the north-side of the street is one of the last Second empire, cast iron buildings left mostly in tact in NYC and on the south-side is the beautiful (I think restored), Breslin Apartments building that is the sight of the Hotel.
I have to step back and take a moment to discuss the cast iron building, the landmarked Gilsey House is a former grand hotel (1872-1911), the first to offer telephone service to guests. It was noted for its bar made of silver dollars, and was a favorite of Diamond Jim Brady and Oscar Wilde. Converted to housing in 1979 it’s still a beautiful sight to see.
As I was saying before though, the Ace Hotel is by this amazing poser design couple/duo that is Roman & Williams. They are so inspiring and talented it makes my heart bleed when I look at their work sometimes. I know that sounds really dramatic but, seriously look at that rendering!
The design of the place is so successful, because my first experience was great, not only because of the taste of Stumptown coffee, but also because the building’s atmosphere and environment. Standing in that coffee shop I felt as though I was transported back to Portland.
The other night while visiting my brother, his partner was showing me inspiration images for the shelving unit that they’re planning on building. I thought the images looked very familiar and when I began telling them about Stumptown, and the decor I had to show them a picture of a light fixture that I had snapped on my phone. Well lo and behold, the inspiration images were pulled straight out of the Ace Hotel! To make a long story short, you must try to visit this place when you’re in the city. It’s just so beautiful and inspiring, and tasty.
I also found this video about Roman & Williams on their website. It was shot by “The Scout” for some reason I can’t embed it into my post, but the images and what the designers have to say is wonderful and entirely worth the ten minutes to watch. So please check it out. Here is a quote from The Scout about the video:
‘”It’s a shame to only have dreams at night. You should have a few opportunities during the day.” This wistful quote from Stephen Alesch speaks volumes about the spaces he and Robin Standefer create as architects and designers. Their firm Roman & Williams, is named for their grandparents, paying homage to another era. Together, they draw on the evocative moods, textures, and meaningful objects that linger somewhere between past and present. Their work is infused with memory and allows participants to connect with a more romantic and important time.’
Along with the video, the can catch the studio visit here: The Scout- Roman & Williams Studio Visit
The Architects Newspaper – Douglas Lyle Thompson