One of New York’s monumental public spaces dating to the post-Civil War era, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank made banking an experience for its customers, who associated the building’s majestic Classical style with stability and trustworthiness. A second banking hall was added in 1908 to accommodate women, an increasing proportion of the bank’s clientele.
Bank consolidation led to the building’s sale in 2010. Successive bank uses had been hard on the interior. But, new owners took advantage of federal tax credits to help fund the interior restoration, including the elaborate main dome paintings by Peter B. Wight, an 1875 French-import vault door, and a 1911 birdcage elevator. The interior reopened in 2014 as a special event space, wittily named Weylin B. Seymour’s after the “WSB” monograms that appear throughout the interior. Landmark bank interiors have found second lives as event spaces, taking advantage of the grandeur that once attracted customers to delight and impress today’s benefit-goers.
Photographs by Larry Lederman © All rights reserved