Bowery bank designated

Citizens Saving Bank at 58 Bowery. Image: LPC.

Beaux-Arts style building stands across from entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. On August 9, 2011, Landmarks designated the Citizens Savings Bank at 58 Bowery in Manhattan as an individual City landmark. Architect Clarence W. Brazer designed the domed, granite-clad bank in 1922. The monumental Beaux-Arts style building sits on a square lot at the corner of Canal Street, across from the Manhattan Bridge. The building rises to 110 feet and features a main banking hall with ceilings reaching 70 feet. The bank features four large, recessed, arched windows, framed by pilasters. Decorative elements include Charles Keck-designed sculptures on the cornice that would have been visible to passengers on the elevated Third Avenue rail line that once passed through the neighborhood.

Citizens Savings Bank was founded in 1860 to serve the neighborhood’s working class, largely immigrant community. The building has been continuously used for banking and is currently occupied by HSBC Bank. 

No one opposed designation at Landmarks’ public hearing in March 2011. Representatives from the Historic Districts Council, New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors testified in support. The Historic Districts Council’s Linda Jones drew attention to the “dramatic” juxtaposition of the bank and the Manhattan Bridge’s arch and colonnade. Noting the rapid change in the Bowery, the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Andrea Goldwyn urged Landmarks to protect the building.

At the August meeting, the Commissioners voted unanimously to designate the building. Commissioner Diana Chapin stated that the building was “an obvious landmark” that functioned as a “signpost” for travelers on the Manhattan Bridge. Chair Robert B. Tierney noted that the bank would now receive the protection it deserved and pointed out that there was another bank building with a similar monumental presence just north of Citizens Savings Bank on the Bowery.

LPC: Citizens Savings Bank, 58 Bowery, Manhattan (LP-2466) (Aug. 9, 2011).

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