Third time the charm for Jamaica Savings Bank

Jamaica Savings Bank. Photo: LPC.

Landmarks cites newly found political support behind the designation of 110-year-old Beaux Arts-style building. On February 12, 2008, Landmarks voted to designate the former Jamaica Savings Bank, located on Jamaica Avenue in Queens. This is the third time Landmarks had voted to designate the building. In 1975 the Board of Estimate rejected Landmarks’ designation, and in 1990 the City Council did the same. In both instances, the failure to designate was motivated by the opposition of the building’s owner and the local Chamber of Commerce.

The 1898 building, designed by the architecture firm Hough & Duell, is one of the few remaining examples of the Beaux Arts style in Queens. The ornate facade of the four-story building remains largely intact, despite it lying vacant for several years since it ceased to function as a bank in 1964.

Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney called it “a matter of personal pride” that the building would be designated under his watch. Tierney claimed that the “thorny problems” that had previously stymied designation are now “substantially resolved,” pointing to the support from the building’s owner and Council Member Leroy Comrie, whose district includes Jamaica. Commissioner Stephen Byrns stated that the building was one of the finest of its type in Queens, while Commissioner Christopher Moore called it “palatial, if not a palace.” Tierney called the bank “intrinsically meritorious” before calling a vote, which designated Jamaica Savings unanimously.

LPC: (Former) Jamaica Savings Bank, 161-02 Jamaica Avenue, Queens (LP-2109) (Feb. 12, 2008).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.