Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Greenpoint Savings Bank - Capital One

Historic Photo
Greenpoint Savings Bank circa 1927 (photo source: Brooklyn Pix)
Contemporary photo taken from same location as historic photo
Greenpoint Savings Bank Today
Greenpoint Savings Bank bronze plaque on side of building
Greenpoint Savings Bank Plaque
The Greenpoint Savings Bank was founded in 1868 by local citizens and businessmen, including Archibald Meserole, a member of one of Greenpoint's founding families.[1] Built in 1908, this neoclassical building was designed by architects Helmle & Huberty and is constructed of limestone on a granite base.[2]  Some of the other buildings in Brooklyn Helmle & Huberty designed includ the Prospect Park Boathouse (1905), shelter pavilion in McGolrick Park (1910) and the Brooklyn Central Office, Bereau of Fire Communications (1913).[1] Classical architecture was historically used in the design of financial institutions as a means to project an image of strength and trust. The Greenpoint Savings Bank is no exception and it takes some of its design cues from the Pantheon in Rome. The dome is shaped much like that of the Pantheon and is clad in a fish scale pattern of slate similar to the original pattern of bronze shingles that once topped the Pantheon; although, the valuable bronze on the Roman structure was stolen during the Middle Ages.

Later additions to bank
Bank Additions
An L-shaped addition was added circa 1925, bookending the original building with new facades on Manhattan Avenue and Calyer Street. The design style of these facades was meant to act as a visual extension of the existing structure. Note that only part of the addition had been built at the time the historic photo at the top of the page was taken. The nondescript modern extension spanning from the classically designed structure to Lorimer Street was added in 1954.[1]

Pantheon in Rome

I included a photo of the Pantheon for comparison but unfortunately, as I recall, getting a good photo of the dome on the Pantheon was difficult. The plaza is a little too tight. Like the shingles, most of the marble veneer was removed. On a side note: If you visit the Pantheon and are into coffee, there is a cafe around the corner called "Tazza D'Oro" that sells something called granita di caffe. Granita is made of the ice crystals of frozen espresso layered with whip cream and Tazza D'Oro has the best granita in Rome.

Commercial from the now defunct Greenpoint Savings Bank.

  1. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report New York: 1982
  2. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010.


  1. Amazing, little change had been made with the bank structure, that's remarkable.

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  2. Parthenon? Do you mean maybe Pantheon?