Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dime Savings Bank - Downtown Brooklyn

Facing the entrance of the Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn
Dime Savings Bank - Downtown Brooklyn
Closeup of pediment over entrance of Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn
Dime Savings Bank Pediment

Closeup of entrance of Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn
Dime Savings Bank Entrance
Closeup of bronze relief between doors of Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn
Relief of Mercury Between Doors
Looking down the colonnade on south wall of Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn
South Side of Dime Savings Bank
Chartered in April 1859, the Dime Savings Bank opened in Brooklyn in June of the same year.[1] The former Downtown Brooklyn branch of the Dime Savings Bank at 9 Dekalb Avenue is a Roman Revival style structure built 1906-08 on the northeast corner of Dekalb Avenue and Fleet Street.[1] The original building was designed by Mowbray  & Uffinger; it was later enlarged by Halsey, McCormack & Helmer in 1931-1932.[2][3] Both firms were already known for designing impressive banks prior to being commissioned to design the Dime Savings Bank. Mobray & Uffinger had also designed the People's Trust Company on Montague Street and Halsey, McCormack & Helmer were well known for designing the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower.[3] Numerous architectural elements within the building are used as symbolic references. Mercury, the Roman God of commerce, is the prominently featured symbol of the Dime Savings Bank and is included in the building in stone, as well as bronze reliefs. Along with brick, the building was clad in Pentelic marble quarried from the same source the ancient Greeks used to acquire stone for the construction of their temples, including the Pantheon.[1] Security and stability are communicated through the overall classically inspired architectural composition itself. The elements within the composition are best described in An Architectural Guide to Brooklyn:
The entrance to the bank is splendid, holding the space with all the authority and skill that architecture can muster. It is a projecting tetrastyle Ionic portico from which the east and west side of the building flare to the north. The portico is crowned by one of the best triangular pediments in Brooklyn, filled, as such pediments should be, with sculpture semi-reclining figures flank a beautiful clock. Colonnades of fully modeled Ionic columns are recessed within the east and west walls of the building. The top floor, with anthemion cresting, forms a platform for a fine, broad saucer dome.
Various financial institutions occupied the Dime Savings Bank building prior to it being vacated and put up for sale by its most recent owner, Chase Bank. JDS Development and the Chetrit Group recently purchased the building, as well as, 300,000 square feet of included development rights on the block from Chase. To date, the pair of development corporations has amassed a total 600,000 square feet of development rights for the site. So, in theory, they could erect a building as tall as the Empire State Building and include the landmarked bank as part of the future residential site.[4] 

  1. NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Chester Court Historic District Designation Report 19 July, 1994
  2. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  3. Morrone, Francis An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2001.
  4. "1,000 FT Tower is Probably Coming to Downtown Brooklyn" Curbed 5, August, 2015

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