Designated November 15, 1977
Soaring more than 500 feet above Hanson Place, the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, with its striking silhouette and famous four-faced clock, is the most prominent feature of the Brooklyn skyline. It was the tallest building on Long Island for many years. The setback and the fine ornamental details and rich carving of the lower two stories are the Byzantine building’s most striking features.
Interior: The interior, a simple and elegant Romanesque Revival space, imagines banking as a quasi-religious act. The great banking room is a basilica-like, three-bay space set on a nave-and-aisles plan. It is characterized by the sumptuousness of its finishes including exotic marbles, Cosmati floor surfaces, golden mosaic vaults, and enamelled steel. The space is enhanced with sculpture by Rene P. Chambellan and mosaics by Angelo Magnanti, including a mural expressing the bank’s prominent role in the Borough of Brooklyn and its future.
*Excerpt from the The Landmarks of New York by Barbaralee Diamonstien-Spielvogel
STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark
“I don’t know what the City would be without HDC. [They] testified before LPC time after time and helped us focus on the right issues. We would not be an historic district without HDC! ”
Doreen Gallo: DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance
“Use HDC as a resource because they know what they are doing and can offer advice on how to go about creating a district from every front: architectural, political, LPC, and the media. I had floundered prior to my involvement with this invaluable organization.”
Fern Luskin: Lamartine Place Historic District; Friends of Lamartine Place & Gibbons Underground Railroad Site
“HDC provided guidance and shared information during that process—we knew which Council members were going one way or another and we changed a few minds. I don’t think NoHo would have had as cohesive a district had it not been for HDC’s aid.”
Zella Jones: NoHo Historic District; NoHo East; and NoHo Extension
“I remember Richard saying at a meeting, we have someone here from HDC, Nadezhda Williams, Director of Preservation and Research, to help us. She said to us, ‘You are not the only ones going through this.’ HDC included us in an enormous community”
Erika Petersen: West End Preservation Society