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LPC Considers Protecting 54-58 Bowery

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Photo by Jim Henderson.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Bowery preservation activists. Here’s a bit of heartening news. Next week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hear testimony in support of protecting one of Chinatown’s most distinctive buildings, the old Citizens Savings Bank at 54-58 Bowery.

The building, in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, is now an HSBC branch. Here’s the landmark Commission’s description:

On the prominent corner of the Bowery and Canal Street, the former Citizens Savings Bank is topped with an impressive bronze dome.  Tall arches, pilasters, scrolls, keystones, entablature, balustrade and a clock flanked by carvings of a sailor and a Native American (from the seal of New York City) and beehives (symbolizing industry and hard work) complete this Beaux Arts monument, a fine companion to Carrere and Hastings’s Manhattan Bridge approach.

Photo by Jim Henderson.

The bank was built in 1924 and designed by architect Clarence W. Brazer.  The hearing takes place next Tuesday morning (more info on the LPC’s web site). The Historic Districts Council, working in tandem with the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, will be speaking in support of landmarking. The Historic Districts Council has named the Bowery one of “Six to Celebrate,” New York City’s neighborhoods that “merit preservation” and that will be the focus of the advocacy group’s efforts this year.

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