As I was approaching the corner of Madison Avenue, an unexpected breathtaking building stood in front of me. Built in the early 1900s Beaux-Arts style, and designed by C.P.H. Gilbert, this mansion was originally owned by Dutchman, Joseph Raphael De Lamar. Considered to be one of the wealthiest men of his time, he made his fortune several times over in the 1800s as a ship contractor, investing in the mining industry in Colorado and later on Wall Street. After his death, the American Bible Society purchased the De Lamar Mansion for one year and then, for the next fifty years, it was home to the National Democratic Club. Unfortunately, in 1973 when the Polish government purchased the house, it was in a terrible state of disrepair. Working meticulously on both the exterior and interior, Polish conservators were able to restore the mansion to its original splendor. Today, it is considered to be one of the most magnificent houses in Manhattan. Thanks to the deputy counsel general, we gained entry inside the five-story mansion to take photos, and to experience firsthand, how conscientious the Polish preservationists were in conserving the carved stone, gold crests, marble ornaments, murals on the ceiling and original Tiffany glass windows. With the Morgan Library directly across the street, these two masterpieces allow people to recall the days of grandeur over a century ago.
Jonathan Boyarsky, fourth generation owner, has found himself a terrific niche on 39th by being one of the only menswear shops to remain on the ground floor. Over the years, he watched as companies moved upstairs into offices in the garment district, or even overseas, but he chose to remain where people could easily spot him. Although he feels that he has remained "under the radar," at times, when people come in they are "ecstatic" with what he has to offer. His family began their men's clothing business on the Lower East side back in 1919. Over the years, members of the family spread out and opened related businesses offering either custom made shirts, suits or fabrics. At No. 257, Jonathan has combined it all. He describes it as "double dipping." They used to sell only the fabric and then send people elsewhere to have their clothing made. Today, within the three floors of space at Fabric Czar, customers can select from some of the finest cloths, and then meet first class tailor, Steven Tabak, of Beckenstein Bespoke, where their clothing is designed...and, everything is constructed on the premises. "We are one stop shopping, whatever a customer needs, we can make it for them." And for Jonathan, it is only about quality craftsmanship.
There are intriguing spaces sprinkled throughout the city that invite corporations to utilize their facilities, but stepping inside Offsite is a unique experience designed specifically for the business meeting clientele. The brainchild of Patrick Everett and Shawn Kessler, they have created a stunning turnkey facility where all day conferences can be held. Companies are invited to bring their employees together for a productive 9am-5pm meeting in the three levels of fully equipped space, which can then be flipped effortlessly into an appropriate venue for an evening event. The rooms are configured so that some forty people are able to sit around one gigantic table or be rearranged into smaller units. Attendees never have to feel confined to one space, as they can move around freely on each floor, dividing up into smaller breakout sessions, when necessary. The rooms are versatile and technology oriented, fully outfitted with AV equipment - as Patrick referred to it, "plug and play." Endless pens and pads, drinks and snacks, including large jars of enticing candy, are provided throughout the day. The partners have paid attention to every detail, taking into consideration exactly what they believe their clients will require, including a small executive office that allows for a private phone conversation and a myriad of white walls that are actually whiteboards. Offsite works with some of the terrific catering facilities in the area to provide top lunches and dinners for groups, and everything is served on their attractive dishes. While being given a tour, Patrick told me that he had been an event planner. When he discovered that there was something important missing in the corporate world, he found his niche. As he began to imagine the possibilities, he worked diligently on his concept with Shawn. Basically all one has to do is book the space, and the rock star team at Offsite will handle the rest.