On the west coast of Long Island, New York, two former factories have been converted into hip hotels. One is in Queens while the other is in Brooklyn, each has a strong industrial heritage and its own unique appeal. Both hotels are only a short journey from Manhattan, yet sufficiently removed to offer escape from the bustle.
Where workers once toiled through lengthy shifts, a slower pace of life is now positively encouraged. We can certainly see why Paper Factory Hotel and Wythe Hotel attract local trendies and design-conscious out-of-towners.
This factory, built in 1922, was first home to the Pilot Radio Company, where radios and radio parts were manufactured. During WWII, the plant went into the production of communication devices. As paper production began to soar, in direct relation to the newspaper industry boom during the war, the site became a paper mill. But by 1970, the building and the neighbourhood had fallen into neglect. The area experienced a resurgence during the dot com era, but it wasn’t until 2012 that a developer saw potential in the industrial complex at its heart.
The conversion retains or reclaims many of the factory’s original features. There are polished concrete floors and vintage hammered metal doors throughout. 12-foot high ceilings and expansive windows fill the public spaces and guest rooms with natural light. Steampunk details are juxtaposed with unusual upcycled elements. But one of the most striking installations is a fitting commemoration to the hotel’s former function; a majestic, century old paper printing machine.
The Wythe Hotel began with the discovery of a factory on the Williamsburg waterfront. This former textile building, set a block back from the Williamsburg waterfront, was built in 1901. Once at the heart of a thriving industrial region, the area has been claimed by new communities and creatives. The factory was converted in 2012.
While the Wythe Hotel is certainly Williamsburg’s first boutique offering, it might just lead the pack for its interiors. With exposed brick walls, timber beamed ceilings and cast-iron columns, the building exudes genuine industrial style. Understated décor, characterised by reclaimed and vintage furniture, is complemented by witty custom-designed wallcoverings such as the Wythe Toile depicting local urban scenes. The factory windows and rooftop bar offer amazing views of Manhattan.
Photography by Mathew Williams.