The Bowery Savings Bank at 130 Bowery between Broome and Grand Streets was designed by Stanford White, from the firm of McKim, Mead, and White, and built in 1893–95. The “L”-shaped building continues through to Elizabeth Street, and has a designed facade at 228 Grand Street.
White’s architectural portfolio includes: The Washington Square Arch, a Fifth Avenue mansion formerly owned by the Rockefeller family, The New York Herald building, The Tiffany building, The Boston Public Library, several branches of The New York Public Library, and The Bowery Savings Bank building which is now a 40,000 square foot space event space and restaurant called Capitale (opened and landmarked in 1980).
In 1906, at one of White’s most recognized buildings, his life was ended. While attending the opening of Madison Square Garden’s roof show, White was shot and killed by the jealous husband of his mistress.
White’s choice of a Roman classical style for the building set a trend for bank buildings. Greek revival temples were built to inspire confidence after the United States economy collapsed in the Panic of 1893. Many people blamed banks for the depression that followed. So, banks built in that era (until the end of the Great Depression) were meant to suggest strength and stability.
The exterior has Corinthian columns and sculpted pediments by Frederic MacMonnies. The interior is reminiscent of a Roman temple with extensive use of marble, mosaic floors, faux marble scagliola columns, coffered ceilings and stairs and cast iron skylights with a glowing amber Venetian glass ceiling set into the 65-foot-high ceiling.