Mess Around Downtown: The Vault Edition

12/04/2009 in

Did you know that the largest gold vault in the world lies beneath the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan? 540,000 gold bars live below the streets of Manhattan. In fact, Lower Manhattan has been the financial capital of the world for a long time.  So, what could 12 inch thick steel, steak, wine and art possibly have in common? Well, at one time there were even more banks down here than there are now. As the world has become more global and banks have vacated their buildings, they had no choice but to clear out their cash and leave the incredible vaults where they stored their wealth behind.  I thought you might like to know how four of these awesome vault spaces have been reinvented, recreated and restored to everything from rehearsal spaces to steak serving restaurants.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council: Swing Space 14 Wall Street

This vault has been transformed into a rehearsal space for artists and arts organizations that have been rewarded a grant to create new work. Whatever brings more art Downtown is good.  Artists, learn how to apply for a grant yourself.  Art lovers, check out their site to view the work of past and present artists that have utilized this great opportunity, and find out what to see next.

Bobby Van’s Steakhouse and Grill – 25 Broad Street

Head downstairs to this huge, beautiful space that was the original J.P. Morgan Trust vault.  Bobby Van’s did an excellent job preserving the original integrity of this vault. The huge circular doors are still in tact and the exterior walls still have the original safe deposit boxes in place.  Eat here if you’re looking for an interesting setting to go along with a critically acclaimed steak and wine for lunch or dinner.

Trinity Place –  115 Broadway

When you walk inside this restaurant you are immediately greeted by an awesome vault door.  It is apparent that the space was designed to work with the beauty of the vault, rather than trying to cover it up.  It took nine months to cut through the steel of the vault to get the specific aesthetic they were going for.  The result is visually pleasing.  They also utilized the old vault elevator by turning it into their wine cellar.  If you’ve been looking to try the fantastic food here but haven’t had the chance, let this be your new motive.

The Capital Grille – 120 Broadway

Rent this vault for your next private party and you’ll be entering a large dining room through a huge circular steel door.  Word on the street is that steak and wine tastes better when consumed in a vault.

Do you know of any other vaults Downtown that are being used for something other than to secure money and gold?  If so, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at

Tags: Banks, Bobby Vans, Mess Around, The Capital Grille, Trinity Place, Vaults

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