W’burg Bank of America branch now a historic landmark

Bank on it! This building should be a landmark
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

There are bank notes and there are banks of note.

A Williamsburg Bank of America branch received landmark designation on Tuesday when the city declared the 89-year-old building historically significant thanks to its esteemed architect and stately neoclassical stlyle.

Eugene Schoen, who came to be known as one of the fathers of modern American architecture and American furniture design, built the Graham Avenue bank in 1923 — and it’s been a looker ever since.

Schoen designed many branches of the Public National Bank of New York, but preservationists say this one-story edifice between Moore and Varet streets is his most interesting and structurally intact.

Experts tout the building as a rare example of Austro-Hungarian influence in the city and as a marker of Williamsburg history.

“It is quite unique and an interesting reminder of the prominence of this community at the turn of the century,” said Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis.

Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert Tierny raved about the building’s “cast-stone” shell, “rusticated columns” and rectangular and round-arched windows, which features classical and Vienna Secessionist ornamentation.

“This unusual building has served as a financial and visual anchor for nearly 90 years, and will endure for generations now that it’s a landmark,” said Tierney, who cheered Bank of America for supporting the landmark designation.

The bank branch is now the neighborhood’s fourth landmarked financial building, joining the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, Kings County Savings Bank, and Dime Savings Bank.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.