When you think of Saratoga Springs, you probably picture horses and the bustling Broadway. You’re not wrong, but there is so much more to this adorable “city in the country.”
One such place is the Beekman Street Arts District. Boasting some of the best restaurants and coolest shops in Saratoga, Beekman is still a bit off the beaten path. Just a few blocks from Broadway, you’ll find a different vibe; unpretentious, artsy, creative, and a little weird – but in the best way.
Something Different & Authentic
The Arts District sits in Saratoga’s historic West Side (west of Broadway). This area was home to the Irish and Italian immigrants who worked on the Railroad (in fact, there’s a sign declaring this area “Dublin”), and African Americans when there weren’t many other places for them to go. Ask any Westsider and they’ll have memories of legendary pizzas and even some unsavory activities. About 20 years ago, however, this area was full of artists looking for a community, and they built one. If you’re looking for something different and authentic, come to Beekman. Here are just some of the highlights:
I started Collective 131 online in my Hoboken apartment (131 was my address) to feature women artists. When I moved back Upstate, I opened my first brick-and-mortar. I saw an ad for 74 Beekman and instantly felt like this was the right spot. The airy, light space was totally my vibe and I loved the authentic feel of Beekman Street. Here, you can find local and regional artists in a range of media and subjects — but all affordable. Our price range is around $20 to $300. It’s also important to me to showcase women and minority makers. Aside from art, I LOVE fun stationery and thoughtful gifts, like our Schitt’s Creek birthday cards and ceramic ring dishes and tote bags.
The new kids on the block, Grateful Threads owners Noah and Hunter have a ridiculous inventory of vintage tees, jerseys, and hats. They have a huge online following, and people are flocking to their new brick-and-mortar for these awesome finds. They definitely bring a fun vibe to Beekman with their ever changing cardboard cut-outs out front like Shaq and Dale Earnhardt. Hunter loved the Beekman Street Art Fair in June, and hopes we can host more events like that during the year.
The Vintage Shop
“Beekman is where the one-of-a-kind speciality shops are. It made more sense for me to be here than on Broadway.” Walking through Denise’s The Vintage Shop at 65 Beekman Street is like walking through time. Here you’ll find a trove of vintage designer clothes, accessories, and even a few oddities. Her forte is sourcing quality, maintained pieces, and she’s a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning. Think vintage Versace jeans, Ferragamo shoes, Pendleton sweaters, and so much more.
Little Darling Studios
Nicole Darling is the tattoo artist behind Little Darling Studios. She opened her own studio and chose artsy Beekman Street for her location. “I absolutely love Beekman. Not only am I the owner of Little Darling Studios, I am a very unique tattoo artist and a wedding photographer,” says Nicole, so she fits in perfectly in the Arts District. Follow her Instagram to see her in action and her amazing creations. She also sells her own branded candles!
Living Resources Arts 70 Beekman Gallery
This studio and gallery serves the community in so many ways. Part of the larger Living Resources organization, Marcus Anderson and his staff provides fine art instruction to students with disabilities. The artwork created is also on display at all times in the gallery. “It’s great to have a community art space for them to exhibit and work side by side with emerging and established artists from the community. The Arts District is important because we make one another stronger through teamwork,” says Marcus.
A leading fixture of the arts district, Eden Compton has had her gallery and studio on Beekman Street for several years. Her first studio was at 74 Beekman (where Collective is now!), and she’s now at 73 – a lovely yellow building with an inviting porch. Her specialties are cityscapes, landscapes, and portraits, and Eden displays her own work for sale inside along with the art of other local and regional artists. She is also a skilled teacher, offering painting classes and workshops to art lovers of all ages and abilities. She can’t wait to regularly have shows and openings like in the good old days (pre-COVID).
“I love Beekman Street because of the warmth of the community. It feels like a neighborhood and is a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle of Broadway.”
Cecilia Frittelli and Richard Lockwood are master textile artists. I could spend hours watching the duo weave on their traditional looms in this adorable studio on the corner of Beekman and Grand. They are some of the original pioneers of the Arts District, opening their studio in the early 2000s in this historic 1850 building on the West Side. Frittelli and Lockwood textiles are found all over the country at galleries and craft shops, including Saratoga’s own TOGA HERITAGE. They also sell apparel and accessories out of their studio and online. “After many years behind closed doors as a production studio, we welcomed being part of an arts community,” Cecilia said.
Korean BBQ and crepes might sound like an odd pair, but trust me, it works. Michael Gasser is the owner and he and his family have a long West Side history. “Come to Beekman and hit the Kraverie trifecta: Korean BBQ, craft beer, and live music,” says Michael. My personal favorites are the sweet and spicy gochujang chicken wings and the kimchi fried rice. And of course, finish your night with a delicious crepe.
The Local Pub and Teahouse
It’s an Irish tradition to call the neighborhood pub “the local,” so this bar and restaurant fits perfectly in this historic “Dublin” area. “We pride ourselves on our draft diversity and quality,” say The Local Pub and Teahouse owners Jonathan Haynes and Michael Phinney. With its mix of traditional pub fare and a rotating tap, you’ll find a comfy place to sit with family, friends, and your loyal pup. A customer favorite is the classic Fish ‘n Chips.
Principessa Elena Society and the Frederick Allen Lodge
The area’s history is preserved by the Principessa Elena Society and the Frederick Allen Lodge. Nicknamed the “Black Elks Club,” the Frederick Allen Lodge #609 is the local chapter of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World. The Lodge remains open for events, workshops, and other charitable initiatives. The Principessa Elena Society was founded in 1900 by Italian-American men to assist the Italian immigrants that came to Saratoga. Today, they support the community with charity and scholarships, and host Italian Friday Dinners.
Written by: Cassie Fiorenza
Cassie Fiorenza is the owner of Collective 131 on Beekman. Originally from Loudonville, Cassie and her husband moved upstate in 2020 and settled in Saratoga Springs.