Mural by famed street artist unveiled near landmarked Williamsburg bank

A new mural by the famous street artist Swoon was erected next to a historic bank in Williamsburg.
Ed Lederman

Developers unveiled a sprawling mural next to Williamsburg’s historic Dime Savings Bank earlier this month, which pays tribute to the borough’s thriving art scene.

Brooklyn is the place where arts thrive, so we wanted to pay homage to these Brooklyn artists,” said Sam Charney, a developer who commissioned the mural for his newly-constructed residential tower on S. Fifth Street called “The Dime,” which is attached to the historic bank.

The 36-foot-long mural — painted by critically acclaimed street artist Swoon — depicts flowers in a black-and-white nature scene from five stories above the residential building facing S. Fifth Street. Charney said he didn’t want the mural to feature people, but left the rest up design process to Swoon, whose work has been displayed at MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Tate Modern in London.

She is well-known for her figurative work with people, and we just didn’t want any people in the work. That was the one piece of direction we gave her,” Charney said. “We wanted it to be less about the individual and more about the communal.”

The 22-story tower’s lobby will also feature work by Swoon, while the neighboring commercial lobby — also developed by Charney — will display a mural by Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin, whose stained glass water towers have sprouted up across the borough.

Tom Fruin did incredible piece in the lobby of laser-cut found-trash that’s been collaged together,” said Charney about the 30-foot long piece that will be on display in the S. Fifth Street building. 

The Dime Savings Bank, which was built around 1906 on Havemeyer Street by S. Fifth Street, will either be leased as stand-alone retail or as the lobby of a larger commercial tenant, Charney said. 

Charney, an art collector, said he became interested in street art as a teenager growing up in New York during the 1980s. He’s now the co-owner of a street art gallery Soak Your Buns, named after the technique hot dog eating contest participants use to scarf down frankfurters. 

I grew up in Manhattan in the ’80s and ’90s, I’m a big street art collector,” said Charney, who added that commissioning the street art murals felt like an obvious choice. “I just feel like if you have the opportunity to put something really unique in your lobbies and common spaces, why not take advantage of it?”

Charney Companies
The 12-foot-tall mural features natural imagery, such as flowers and wind.Ed Lederman