Citizens Savings Bank Testimony
Statement of the Historic Districts Council
March 22, 2011
BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
Citizens Savings Bank, 150 Canal Street (aka 54-58 Bowery)
The Historic Districts Council is the advocate for New York City’s designated historic districts and neighborhoods meriting preservation.
When I walked over to have a look at the bank, I found myself amazed that it had not already been designated a landmark. Its setting opposite the Landmarked Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade creates a dramatic juxtaposition across a very busy Chinatown intersection. The dome of the Citizen Savings Bank rises 110 feet and is visible from many points in the Lower East Side and Chinatown.
The bank, designed by Clarence W. Brazer, was completed in 1924 for one of the City’s oldest savings institutions. With its monumental presence and Beaux-Arts classicism, it dominates the southwest corner of Bowery and Canal Street. Huge arched windows in the façade, as well as the high dome, attract the gaze. Below the dome are symbolic figures, including the requisite beehives, as well as figures of an American Indian, a sailor, and an eagle spreading his wings over an impressive clock.
A plaque on the Canal Street side notes that in 1783 George Washington began his triumphal march from a tavern on this site into the City, upon its evacuation by the British.
HDC is happy to be working with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors as the Bowery is one of our Six to Celebrate neighborhoods. We very much appreciate the Commission’s attention and encourage your continued focus on this important and endangered street.