Jarmulowsky Owners Decide to Restore Large Dome Atop Hotel

jarmulowsky bank historic photo

Here’s some news historic preservationists will be thrilled to hear.  After a lot of consideration, the owners of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building have decided to restore a grand circular dome that adorned the top of the historic structure until 1990.

As you probably know, the Jarmulowsky (54 Canal St./9 Orchard St.) is currently being renovated and converted into an upscale boutique hotel.  When the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the restoration plan in December of 2012, it urged DLJ Real Estate Partners, the owner, to reconstruct the 50-foot tall tempietto.

Courtesy: Studio Castellano
Courtesy: Studio Castellano

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It had been removed a quarter of a century ago by a previous owner.  At the time, architect Ron Castellano, who is overseeing the restoration, said DLJ was not ready to commit to rebuilding the dome because it would be very expensive.

But now the owners have decided to go ahead with it anyway.   The team will appear before CB3’s landmarks subcommittee February 6 to describe the plan and also go over several other rooftop changes.  They’ll also be seeking approval from the landmarks Commission.  Here’s what the commission wrote about the dome when the Jarmulowsky was protected in 2009:

The building’s rounded corner culminated, until the early 1990s, in a two-story-high circular pavilion with a round dome ringed by eagles and topped by a pinnacle, which was probably inspired by Athens’ Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (334 BC), the basis for New York’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Stoughton & Stoughton with Paul E.M. DuBoy, 1897-1902, a designated New York City Landmark) and for the crown of McKim, Mead & White’s Municipal Building of 1907-14 (a designated New York City Landmark). This feature accentuated the corner’s vertical thrust, affirming the building’s monumental status on the Lower East Side and drawing attention to it from Straus (then Rutgers) Square two blocks to the east, the neighborhood’s historic center of Jewish life.
In a 1991 story, that carried the headline, “The Unmasking of a ‘Landmark'”, Christopher Gray asserted that the removal of the 50-foot tall dome “instantly reduced (the building) from the exceptional to the ordinary — and the area’s skyline lost one of it signature elements.”


jarmulowsky january 2013

The Ace Hotel team is going to be managing the new project, although the property will not be an Ace; the hotel will operate under a separate name.  The 12-story, 105 room hotel is scheduled to open in the second half of 2015.