Benjamin Altman, the son of Bavarian-Jewish immigrant parents, was born in Manhattan in 1840. In 1865, he founded a dry-goods retail store that rapidly grew into B. Altman & Company, one of New York’s most revered and successful department stores.
In 1896, having just completed a sizeable extension to his company, Benjamin Altman experienced an increase in demand for his goods. To accommodate his exploding business, he hired two of Manhattan’s most notable architects, Kimball and Thompson, to build a large carriage house. The finished structure was nothing short of breathtaking. Two central bay doors and flanking windows welcomed visitors into an expansive 125 foot-wide and five-story high Renaissance Revival stable. Inside, vaulted ceilings and exposed brick housed the carriages. It was a masterpiece—undoubtedly utilitarian, yet simultaneously dignified and handsome.
Since Benjamin Altman, the building has had various owners, but has remained largely unchanged. In 1998 the structure was renamed the Altman Building by Ken Ruby. Today, the former carriage house serves as a sprawling 13,500 square-foot open event space that seamlessly merges old-world charm with modern amenities.