5. One of Manhattan’s best spas is in a 19th-century cast iron building

Aire Ancient Baths
Photo courtesy of Alonso Balaguer Designs Inc.

Though SoHo is famous for its distinctive cast iron architecture, some of the earliest examples of the architectural style can be found in Tribeca. Built in 1849, the Edgar Laing Stores designed by cast iron pioneer James Bogardus was the earliest example of a complete cast iron building façade in New York City. Located in the Washington Market District, it was used as a prototype for the cast iron buildings that followed. Unfortunately, it was dismantled and the pieces were stolen.

However, many cast iron buildings in Tribeca remain, as much of the neighborhood is made up of five historic districts: Tribeca North, Tribeca South, Tribeca East, Tribeca West, and Tribeca South Extension. One of the 19th-century cast iron buildings in the Tribeca East Historic District is now home to the Aire Ancient Baths, a luxurious bathhouse and spa. The building was constructed in 1881 by a promising young architect named J. Morgan Slade, who unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see his masterpiece completed.