S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building
Called “the first strictly high-class tall bank and office building” on the Lower East Side, with a design “equal in every respect [to] the highest grade banking buildings throughout the city,” the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building was completed in 1912 as the architectural showpiece of one of the neighborhood’s most prominent bankers. Born in 1841 in what was then the Russian province of Lomza, its owner, Sender Jarmulowsky, established his business on the Lower East Side in 1873 and was operating at this location by 1878. Known for his honesty and conservative financial approach, Jarmulowsky grew wealthy over the following three decades providing steamship tickets and banking services to the immigrants of the surrounding neighborhood, which was unrivaled as the world’s largest Jewish community. He was also one of the Lower East Side’s leading philanthropists, playing an instrumental role in the construction of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, and serving as its first president.
In 1911, the firm of Rouse & Goldstone filed plans for this twelve-story building, which towered over the tenements of the Lower East Side when it was completed the following year. A pioneer in introducing the prevailing skyscraper aesthetic of New York’s major office districts to the neighborhood, the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building was executed in the “modern Renaissance style” and the tripartite configuration that was standard for tall buildings of the time. Accessed through a classical corner entrance, Jarmulowsky’s banking hall and offices were housed in the building’s rusticated stone base; manufacturing lofts occupied the rest of the building, including its ornate terra-cotta crown. Sender Jarmulowsky died shortly after the building’s opening, and his bank failed in 1917. The building was then sold by his sons, and continued to house a variety of industrial tenants into the twenty-first century.
Today, the richly decorated S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building remains one of the area’s tallest and most distinctive buildings, and one of a handful of structures that “encapsulate the Jewish immigrant experience” on the Lower East Side.
Manhattan’s Lower East Side
The Lower East Side of Manhattan is one of New York’s, and the country’s, most storied neighborhoods. Historically defined as the area east of Broadway, extending from the vicinity of the Brooklyn Bridge north to 14th Street, its name is synonymous with the American immigrant experience. Although immigrants from around the world, from East Asia to Western Europe, have settled on the Lower East Side since the mid-nineteenth century, the neighborhood is most strongly associated with Jewish history and culture: from the 1880s to the 1920s, it was the country’s center of Jewish life and “the single largest Jewish community in the world, unrivaled … in terms of the sheer number of Jews who lived in close proximity to each other.”2 The historic core of this community was present-day Straus Square, located at the intersection of Canal Street, Essex Street, and East Broadway, just east of the skyscraper constructed by Sender Jarmulowsky for his bank.
Prior to the arrival of European fur traders and the Dutch West India Company, the neighborhood, like much of the Metropolitan Region, was populated by bands of Lenape Indians, who had an encampment in what would come to be known as Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side. Under the Dutch, the Lower East Side was divided into several large farms that were worked by slaves. By the mid-1700s, with New York under British control, the 300-acre farm located roughly between present-day Division and Rivington Streets was owned by James DeLancey, who served as Chief Justice, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor of New York Province. (His slave, Othello, was hanged as a conspirator following the slave uprising of 1741.) Upon DeLancey’s death in 1760, his son, also named James, inherited his property; the land was soon surveyed into blocks and lots, and Stanton, Delancey, Grand, and Rivington Streets were laid out.
A British Loyalist, DeLancey left New York for good in 1775, and after the Revolutionary War, his lands, like those of other Loyalists, were confiscated and sold off by the State. The S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building stands on property that was once part of the DeLancey farm, at the southwestern corner of Orchard Street—named for the DeLanceys’ “magnificent orchard”—and Canal Street, named for a canal constructed in the early nineteenth century to drain the fetid Collect Pond just north of City Hall.
Commercial buildings and residences for craftsmen and laborers were being constructed on the former DeLancey estate by the beginning of the nineteenth century, and by the 1820s, the Lower East Side was a desirable area. By the 1840s, the affluent had started abandoning the area south of Houston Street, and the neighborhood’s first purpose-built tenements were being constructed as increasing numbers of immigrants settled on the Lower East Side. Many of these newcomers were Irish-Americans; Irish immigration to New York—and the settlement of Irish immigrants on the Lower East Side—rapidly increased following the beginning of Ireland’s Great Famine in 1845. Soon afterward, German immigrants, fleeing unemployment, religious oppression, famine, and the European Revolutions of 1848, also moved into the area.
The city’s German population grew from about 24,000 in the mid-1840s to over 400,000 by 1880; by then, almost the entire Lower East Side was known as Kleindeutschland, or “Little Germany.” Many German immigrants, including German Jews, prospered in the manufacture and wholesaling of textiles and apparel, setting up businesses on Canal Street that served the department stores and other retailers of nearby Grand Street, which was then one of the city’s major shopping streets.
Up to the 1870s, no distinctly Jewish neighborhood existed in New York; German Jews, who accounted for most of the city’s Jewish population, generally settled within the larger Kleindeutschland community. That would soon change, as hundreds of thousands of Jews, primarily from Russia and Poland, started fleeing pogroms and poverty in their homelands in the early 1880s. From 1881 to 1924, the year in which the so-called “Quota Law” drastically cut U.S. immigration from Eastern Europe, one-third of Eastern Europe’s Jews left their homes, with most seeking refuge in the United States. Between 1880 and 1910, approximately 1.1 million Jews moved to New York City, and between 1880 and 1890, three-quarters of these newcomers settled on the “East Side,” as the Lower East Side was commonly called at that time.
Within the neighborhood, Jewish immigrants typically lived within defined ethnic quarters with others from their home regions; the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building was erected within the largest of these enclaves, which housed Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Lithuanian Jews, and covered most of the area east of the Bowery and south of Grand Street. Although late-nineteenth- and earlytwentieth-century transportation improvements efficiently dispersed the Lower East Side’s Jewish population to Yorkville, Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, more than 300,000 Jews still filled the neighborhood’s tenements at the dawn of World War I, with some living at densities of more than 1,000 persons per acre.
Largely unskilled, Eastern European Jews commonly toiled in sweatshops, although many immigrants and their children studied their way out of this grueling life to become doctors, dentists, lawyers, and other professionals. The sweatshops’ stingy wages and deplorable conditions encouraged the formation of a strong working-class consciousness and robust labor movement; as the heart of the Jewish Lower East Side, Straus Square (then called Rutgers Square) was a locus of political activity, the neighborhood’s “Hyde Park.”6 Indeed, the vicinity of Straus Square was the political, intellectual, and economic center of the neighborhood. East Broadway across from Seward Park was “Yiddish newspaper row,” the home, most famously, of the Jewish Daily Forward.
The Rundbogenstil building of the Education Alliance (Brunner & Tryon, 1889-91), stood at the corner of East Broadway and Jefferson Street, erected by German Jews to provide educational services to newly arrived Jewish immigrants and speed their assimilation into American life. The busy Seward Park Branch of the New York Public Library (Babb, Cook & Welch, 1909) was one of the city’s largest branch libraries at the time of its opening, and the Straus Square area was considered “the financial and business center of the Jewish quarter on the East Side,” home not only to Jarmulowsky’s bank but that of his sons Meyer and Louis, which was housed in an elaborately decorated building on East Broadway resembling a “Moorish mosque.”
With the passage of the Quota Law, the expansion of the subway system, the construction of affordable and more spacious housing in the Outer Boroughs and other areas of Manhattan, and the movement of the city’s garment industry to the streets of the West 30s, the Jewish population of the Lower East Side—and the neighborhood’s population in general—declined precipitously in the 1920s. After World War II, thousands of Puerto Ricans, newly arrived in New York, settled on the Lower East Side, and they were joined, starting in the 1960s, by natives of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Chinatown, the formerly Cantonese enclave centered on Mott Street near Chatham Square, has boomed in the past four decades; with the arrival of immigrants from other areas of China and other East Asian countries, it has jumped Canal Street to claim much of Little Italy, and has spread along East Broadway to Straus Square.
At the same time, the Lower East Side has shrunk in geographical size, as gentrified areas north of Houston Street have been renamed NoHo and the East Village. Still, the Lower East Side remains a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, and the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building remains one of its great landmarks, towering above its surroundings and recalling a vanished era in which it was a significant component of the world’s largest Jewish community. In the words of Amy Milford of the Museum at Eldridge Street, the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building is one of a select group of buildings on the Lower East Side that “encapsulate the Jewish immigrant experience” and “announced the East European Jewish presence in America.”
On the Lower East Side, Sender Jarmulowsky was a figure as towering as the building he constructed to house his bank. Called the “East Side J.P. Morgan,” Jarmulowsky was much more than an exceptional businessman; a respected Talmudic scholar and philanthropist, he was indispensable in constructing the Lower East Side’s Eldridge Street Synagogue (Herter Brothers, 1886-76, a designated New York City Landmark), “the first great house of worship for East European Jews in the United States,” which he led as its first president.11 At the time of his death in 1912, one Yiddish-language newspaper remembered Jarmulowsky as “an East Side businessman of the best kind, a Jew from whom the younger generation of businessmen can learn the duties and obligations that such a position has for Russian Jewish immigrants in America.”
Sender Jarmulowsky was born in 1841 in Lomza, which was then a province of Russia but is now within east-central Poland. Orphaned as a young boy, he was adopted by a prominent rabbi who enrolled him in the Volozhin Yeshiva, a renowned Talmudic academy located in present-day Belarus. An outstanding scholar, Jarmulowsky graduated as an ordained rabbi; although poor, he was betrothed to Rebecca Markels, whose father was a prosperous merchant. This “linkage of scholarship with wealth constituted the classic match in East European Jewish society,” according to historian Annie Polland, “and enabled the scholar to pursue his studies on a full-time basis.”13 Despite this, Jarmulowsky chose to try his hand at business, and soon after moving to Hamburg in 1868, he established a firm that facilitated the passage of people and goods across the Atlantic.
Five years later, Jarmulowsky set up his second office, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Jarmulowsky first appeared in a New York City directory in 1875 as an agent in the firm of Jarmulowsky & Markel, which was located at 193 Canal Street; his partner Solomon Markel resided in Germany, and was likely an in-law. By 1878, Jarmulowsky & Markel had moved to the building at the southwestern corner of Canal and Orchard Streets, likely one of the three structures at that location that Jarmulowsky would ultimately demolish to build the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building. His partnership with Markel appears to have dissolved by 1884, when Jarmulowsky was listed for the first time as a banker, although he would variously identify himself as an agent or banker in local directories through the end of the century.
Jarmulowsky’s bank was similar to the hundreds of other private banks that were the primary financial institutions of New York’s immigrant neighborhoods. Like those banks, Jarmulowsky’s served as a brokerage for steamship tickets as well as a provider of loans and savings accounts. The New York Tribune wrote disparagingly of the Lower East Side’s private bankers, whom it called “bankers by the grace of having come over a steamer or two ahead of the other fellow,” but before the early twentieth century, when established Wall Street banks first started opening offices on the Lower East Side, banks like Jarmulowsky’s provided much-needed services to the neighborhood’s small merchants, workers, and others of modest means.14 In 1898, Jarmulowsky’s customers were described as the “tailors and working girls of the neighborhood.”
Bank runs were common in the days before government-insured savings accounts, and in those times, the best advertisement for a private bank was the good reputation of its owner. The bank owners of the Lower East Side ran their businesses in ways that “were unorthodox by American standards,” according to historian Irving Howe; “they would be present almost every day at their banks, reassuring depositors and assuaging the uneasiness that many East Side immigrants felt at the thought of putting their money in someone else’s hands.”
Jarmulowsky had a stellar reputation, and although his bank suffered four runs between 1886 and 1901, it always pulled through. Known for his conservative approach, Jarmulowsky kept substantial cash reserves in his safe and additional funds in the Corn Exchange Bank, one of the city’s oldest financial institutions; according to the Yiddish-language Tageblat newspaper, “Sender Jarmulowsky was a name that was known to every Jew in the Old and … New World. His business brought him into contact with hundreds of thousands of immigrants to whom the name Jarmulowsky was the guarantee of honesty.” In 1899, Jarmulowsky made his wife Rebecca a partner in the bank in recognition of her contributions to its operation and management, and she was subsequently listed in directories as a banker, separately from her husband.
So prominent was Jarmulowsky in the Jewish community that he appeared as a fictionalized character, Jobbelousky, in Ghetto Silhouettes, a 1902 book set on the Lower East Side: “Jobbelousky’s bank is a revered institution of the East Side.… The head of the house was a patriarchal gentleman, who owned several blocks of houses, all free and clear of encumbrance…. [H]is income rolled in very much as the waters of the Hudson sweep into the sea. He was the banker of the East Side. There are banks and bankers over there, and while they did business in the hundreds, Jobbelousky did it in the thousands.”
Jarmulowsky was a renowned philanthropist who contributed both time and money to an array of Jewish causes. In addition to his instrumental role in constructing the Eldridge Street Synagogue, he served as founding treasurer of the Association of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, which brought the first Eastern European rabbi to the United States. The Jarmulowskys lived on the Lower East Side through the 1880s, and after moving to East 60th Street in 1889, Sender played a key role in organizing the Zichron Ephraim Synagogue on East 67th Street. A supporter of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, Beth Israel Hospital, and Lebanon Hospital, among other causes, Jarmulowsky “set an example in a young community where men of action were needed, not just to succeed in America but to build the institutions—synagogues, educational centers, and governing bodies—necessary for adapting East European Orthodoxy to the American setting.”
He also provided a wealth of informal aid to Jewish immigrants, according to well-known writer and activist Louis Lipsky, who recalled that “the whole Jewish immigration, from 1880 to the end of the century, was actually a simple, self-supporting, self-relieving operation with Jarmulowsky as the magician who made all the works go round.”21
Following Sender Jarmulowsky’s death on June 1, 1912, the Kehillah (Jewish Community of New York) convened an emergency session “to discuss this great loss to the Jews of New York.”22 At the time of Jarmulowsky’s death, his new high-rise building at the corner of Canal and Orchard Streets had been open for only a few weeks.
History of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building
Sender Jarmulowsky began laying the groundwork for the construction of his signature building in 1900, when he acquired a large lot at the southwestern corner of Canal and Orchard Streets that contained two structures, one of which housed his business.28 Three years later, he acquired the adjoining parcel to the south, creating a combined property extending 73 feet along Orchard Street and nearly 66 feet along Canal.
Jarmulowsky engaged Rouse & Goldstone by October of 1910, when the Real Estate Record and Guide announced that the firm was preparing plans for his high-rise building, which would have “an elaborate banking room” on its ground floor and be “the first of the modern high-class structures erected in this part of the city.”30 Within three months, its plans had been filed. The S. Jarmulowsky Bank moved to temporary quarters at 68 Canal Street; demolition on the site began by May of 1911, when the New York Times called Jarmulowsky’s new tower “an innovation for the East Side, being the first strictly high-class tall bank and office building in the entire section” with a design “to equal in every respect the highest grade banking buildings throughout the city.”31 Construction started two months later, and the building opened in May of 1912.
The S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building received additional press after its opening, as photographs of its exterior and banking hall were published in the journal Architecture and Building in November of 1912.
Despite its status as an instant landmark, towering above its surroundings and showcasing its owner’s financial strength, the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building would house its namesake business for only a few years. Following Jarmulowsky’s death in 1912, his half of the business— the other half was owned by his wife, Rebecca—went to three of their sons, Albert, Louis, and Meyer, and their two daughters, Amelia Clark and Blume Ettlinger. Albert, Louis, Meyer, and Rebecca apparently ran the bank in 1913, while Meyer and Louis also operated a separate private bank, the M.&L. Jarmulowsky Bank, which had been in business for several years.
In 1914, the S. Jarmulowsky Bank was reorganized under the leadership of Louis and another of the Jarmulowsky sons, Harry; the two acquired the building from Sender’s executors, who included Albert, Louis, and Meyer, as well as Max Markel, apparently a relative from Rebecca’s side of the family.34 At the same time, the M.&L. Jarmulowsky Bank was failing, and it was soon shuttered by the State, along with four other private banks on the Lower East Side.35 Although the
S. Jarmulowsky Bank remained solvent, about 3,000 of M.&.L. Jarmulowsky’s depositors gathered in front of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building on the evening of October 31, 1914, angered by a proposed plan for reimbursing their lost savings; “reserves from three stations battled until the crowd had been dispersed, and then took two women to the Clinton Street station, charged with inciting to riot,” according to the New York Tribune.36 The S. Jarmulowsky Bank ultimately would be closed by New York State in 1917, as it became insolvent after many of its immigrant depositors withdrew money to send to their relatives in Europe following the United States’ entry into World War I.37 Harry and Louis were bankrupt by 1920, when the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building was sold by court order. The building, which was said to have cost from $200,000 to $350,000 to construct, sold for only $100,000.38
Following the building’s sale, its ground floor continued to house a financial institution, the North American Bank.39 This was succeeded by the Capitol National Bank and, when Capitol was acquired in 1928, the Manufacturers Trust Company.40 Although it is unclear whether the upper floors of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building were intended to be manufacturing lofts, office space, or both—Buildings Department records and press reports differ on this account—all of the building’s space above its first two floors was occupied by lofts by November of 1912.
By the end of the 1920s, the former S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 54 Canal Street was teeming with manufacturers of garments and other textile goods, and various types of finishers: tenants in 1929 included the American Art Manufacturing Company, a maker of lace curtains and scarves; a manufacturer of flannel nightgowns; the Perfect Hemstitching Company; the Public Overall Company; and the Rosebud Housewear Corporation.42 In 1945, the building was purchased by the H.W. Perlman Corporation, a piano manufacturer, which had a factory there until the firm dissolved in the mid-1960s.43 By the 1960s, the former Jarmulowsky Building contained a more diverse array of industrial tenants, and by the mid-1970s, many of its tenant firms had East Asian names, reflecting the expansion of Asian-owned garment factories in the area.
The building continued to house garment factories in 2001; in 2006 it was purchased by its current owner, Baruch Singer, who has announced plans to convert it into a hotel or to residential use. It is currently vacant.
The S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building is a twelve-story building executed in the tripartite configuration that was standard for tall buildings of its time. It is a notable example of a skyscraper in which the three major portions of its main facades are executed in different materials. A neo-Renaissance-style building, it is ornamented with a wealth of classically derived detailing; located on a prominent corner site on the Lower East Side, it features a rounded corner—slightly recessed above the second floor—which extends the building’s full height. Extending for 65 feet along Canal Street and 73 feet along Orchard Street, the building is generally symmetrical, except that it extends a bay further on Orchard Street than it does on Canal. Originally and into the early 1990s, its corner was crowned by a two-story-high, circular pavilion that was probably based upon the ancient Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens.
Although the building remains largely intact today, the most important losses to its historic fabric have been the replacement, with solid panels, of the balustrades in front of its eleventh-floor windows; the removal of its rooftop cornice; the removal of the balustrades and large urns from its rooftop parapet; and the removal of its circular rooftop pavilion. In addition to its two main facades, the S. Jarmulowsky Building has two sparely ornamented brick secondary facades, which are visible from Allen and Division Streets as well as other surrounding public thoroughfares, including the Manhattan Bridge.
At the time this description was written, in 2009, a sidewalk bridge spanned the entire length of the building’s main facades. Photographs taken in August of 2007 were used to describe features of the building’s base that were concealed by the sidewalk bridge.
The three-story-high base of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building is executed in rusticated Indiana limestone, although the lowest portion of the building’s ground floor may be marble or granite. (The ground floor has been painted many times, making identification of its materials difficult.54) The entrance to the building’s original banking hall is located at the base’s corner. This entrance is accessed by a single curved granite step; a non-historic metal roll-down security gate with gate box has been installed at the entrance opening, which may originally have contained “fancy grilled doors.”55 A non-historic fluorescent light fixture is attached to the front of the gate box. The entrance opening appears originally to have had a wide transom bar, and it contains a multi-pane transom window, which may be historic.
The corner entrance opening was entirely surrounded, originally, by a thick enframement, probably of terra cotta, containing foliate ornament, cartouches, and a bead-and-reel molding. The portion of this enframement below the transom has been removed and replaced with non-historic tile; a lock box for the security gate has been attached to the tile surface adjacent to the entrance opening on the west. A non-historic curved canvas awning is present just below the transom.
The corner entrance sits within a classical surround, featuring paired pilasters with Ionic capitals on high bases supporting an entablature. A non-historic metal bracket, formerly holding a sign, is attached to the westernmost pilaster. The entablature, which is curved to follow the round profile of the building’s corner, has a stepped architrave crowned by an acanthus-leaf molding, a projecting cornice with denticulated and egg-and-dart moldings, and a frieze containing incised lettering reading “S . JARMVLOWSKY’S . BANK . EST . 1873 .”; the entablature supports a balustraded third-story balconet. Between the transom and the entablature is a carved stone panel containing a clock at its center. A finely detailed surround containing rosettes and a helmeted figure—possibly Hermes, the Greek god of commerce—frames the clock, which is flanked by two seated figures, as well as carved foliate ornament. Other carved ornament within the panel includes a gear, a barrel, a chain, and a coiled rope.
The Orchard Street portion of the base has three, two-story-high round-arch-headed openings, each of which is crowned by a cartouche. Beneath the central opening of the three is a stone sill and blind stone balustrade, which is supported by the base of the ground floor. A non-historic metal security gate with gate box covers the northernmost opening, which may have been extended to the ground, resulting in the possible loss of its historic sill, balustrade, and base, which were identical to those of the central opening; an electrical box for the gate has been mounted to the façade just north of this opening. The southernmost of the three round-archheaded openings has always extended to the ground and contains a historic recessed, paneled metal fascia and return below its windowsill.
This opening, and the central opening of the three, retain their historic tripartite window frames decorated with scrolls, cartouches, and bead-and-reel and egg-and-dart moldings, although the frames contain replacement sashes. All three of these openings retain their historic transom bars with vertically projecting anthemia. Non-historic canvas awnings have been installed at the two northernmost openings.
One square-headed door opening is located to the south of the three round-arch-headed openings on the Orchard Street façade. This opening retains its original molded surround crowned by a frieze, which is plain except for small carved panels containing urns and foliate ornament at its ends. Non-historic metal doors fill the door opening below a non-historic transom panel containing applied Chinese characters. A non-historic electrical box with conduit has been installed at the center of the frieze. Above the frieze is a heavy projecting cornice with egg-anddart molding; this, in turn, is crowned by an original square-headed window opening within a molded enframement flanked by scrolls. This window opening is covered by a metal grille, which is likely non-historic, and contains a non-historic window sash and infill.
The Orchard Street sidewalk is of plain concrete; two siamese pipes are present in front of the building.
The Canal Street façade of the building’s base contains one, two-story-high round-archheaded opening and one large storefront opening crowned by a baskethandle arch. Like the round-arch-headed openings on the Orchard Street façade, the one on the Canal Street façade is crowned by a cartouche; whether or not this opening retains its historic sill and balustrade, similar to those of the central round-arch-headed opening on the Orchard Street façade, is unclear, as the opening is covered by a non-historic metal security gate with gate box, which is partially concealed by a non-historic canvas awning. Like the round-arched openings on the Orchard Street façade, it retains historic framing elements decorated with cartouches and a bead-and-reel molding, but its transom sashes may have been replaced. Several non-historic signs have been attached to the ground-floor portion of the façade between this opening and the storefront opening.
Although two roll-down metal security gates have been installed at the storefront opening, it retains much of its historic infill, including its continuous, wide metal transom bar sandwiched between a projecting cornice with egg-and-dart molding below, and a denticulated cornice with acanthus-leaf molding above. The transom bar itself is decorated with cherubs, cartouches, and foliate ornament. The transom window mullions within the storefront opening may be historic. Possibly historic glazing and wood window-framing elements are present over the storefront’s eastern gate. A non-historic metal door with metal side and transom panels has been installed in the portion of the opening between the two gates.
The eastern portion of the storefront opening contains a historic metal entrance surround with paneled reveal. The surround is decorated with rope and acanthus-leaf moldings and foliate ornament; an entablature above the surround is filled with winged cherubs’ heads and cartouches joined by festoons. This entrance is crowned by an angular pediment with denticulated, egg-anddart, and acanthus-leaf moldings. Non-historic elements attached to the surround include an alarm box, electrical boxes with conduit, and a large light fixture. The entrance opening is filled with a non-historic metal roll-down security gate behind a pair of non-historic metal security doors with a non-historic transom panel filled with applied Chinese characters. Three non-historic awnings have been installed at the storefront opening.
The Canal Street sidewalk is of plain concrete and contains two metal hatches and one siamese pipe. A high vertical flue projects through, and for about fifteen feet above, the eastern hatch.
Much of the ground-floor portion of the building’s base is defaced with graffiti. The base’s top story has square-headed window openings with plain masonry sills, containing non-historic double-hung sashes, although at least some of the openings appear to retain their historic wood brickmolds. The lower portions of all of these openings, except for the southernmost opening on the Orchard Street façade, which is shorter than the others, are filled with non-historic brick. A non-historic metal box, possibly a camera, is attached to the brick infill of the northernmost Orchard Street opening. The entire base of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building is crowned by a heavy projecting cornice with denticulated and egg-and-dart moldings.
The shaft portion of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building, comprising the fourth through ninth stories of the Canal and Orchard Street facades, is faced with buff-colored Roman brick laid in Flemish bond. The building’s corner has three window openings per floor; the other window openings are paired, except for a single window opening in each southernmost bay of the Orchard Street façade. These openings feature soldier-brick lintels and plain masonry sills, as well as non-historic double-hung sashes, although many openings appear to retain their historic wood brickmolds. A non-historic metal grille projects from the southernmost portion of the Orchard Street façade at the fourth floor. This portion of the building is crowned by a continuous terracotta cornice.
The three-story terra-cotta crown, or “capital,” of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building, extending from the tenth through twelfth stories, is divided into a single-story lower portion, and a two-story upper portion. It appears to have been painted. As on the shaft portion below, each floor contains three window openings at its corner. The other tenth-floor window openings are paired, except for the single window opening in the southernmost bay of the Orchard Street façade, with each window within each pair separated by a pilaster containing a rectangular, recessed panel. Large scrolled brackets are located between the corner window openings; identical brackets, but paired, frame each pair of windows and the single window opening at the southern end of the Orchard Street façade. A continuous egg-and-dart molding runs along the top of the tenth floor.
A paneled parapet, much of which is non-historic, extends the length of both main facades, including the building’s corner, at the eleventh floor. Balustrades are located in front of the windows at the building’s corner; balustrades were also originally located in front of the other eleventh-floor windows, but were removed and replaced with solid walls at sometime in the 1980s or afterward. Two-story-high engaged columns with Corinthian capitals spring upward from the parapet at the corner; the corner window openings at the eleventh and twelfth floors are vertically separated from each other by paneled spandrels.
Wide, two-story-high plain pilasters with molded capitals resting on the parapet frame the corner and the southernmost, single window openings at the eleventh and twelfth floors of the Orchard Street façade. An identical pilaster is present at the western end of the Canal Street façade. Paired, plain pilasters with Corinthian capitals projecting forward from a ribbed background and resting upon the eleventh-floor parapet separate the other window openings, each of which has a tripartite configuration. Each two-story group of tripartite windows features spiral-column mullions with Corinthian capitals, and spandrel panels decorated with cartouches and egg-and-dart moldings, and is surrounded by denticulation. All of the tenth-through-twelfth-floor window openings appear to contain replacement sashes, although many appear to retain their historic wood brickmolds. A bead-and-reel molding runs continuously above the twelfth-floor windows.
Above this, a continuous paneled band decorated with roundels and foliate ornament is framed by a rope molding below, and by denticulated and bead-and-reel moldings above, and runs the length of the main facades, including the corner. The building’s original projecting cornice above this band has been removed, and the parapet appears to have been coated with a cementitious material.
A large stepped and rounded pediment containing a cartouche is present on the building’s roof, at the southern end of the Orchard Street façade. Three paneled rooftop pedestals overlooking Orchard Street, and four paneled rooftop pedestals overlooking Canal Street, are also present. These originally supported large urns and were joined by balustrades; both the balustrades and the urns have been removed. The building’s corner retains the base of its original circular rooftop pavilion, which has also been removed. The base is paneled and features four large scrolled buttresses; the pavilion, as shown in a photograph taken shortly after the building’s opening, originally featured tapered columns with ornate, probably Corinthian, capitals. The round dome of the pavilion was ringed by eagles on paneled pedestals and was crowned by a pinnacle.
A rooftop bulkhead is visible over the building’s Canal Street façade.
The south façade of the S. Jarmulowsky Bank Building is two bays wide at the third and fourth floors, and five bays wide at the fifth through twelfth floors. It is of brick laid in common bond, and has window openings above the second floor of varying heights, with plain masonry sills. Portions of the eastern end of this façade have been painted or coated with a cementitious material; the entire façade at the fourth floor and below has been coated with cementitious material. Non-historic grilles are present at the third-through-sixth-floor window openings. These openings contain a mixture of one-over-one and two-over-two double-hung sashes, all of which are likely replacements, although many appear to retain their historic wood brickmolds. This façade is crowned by a high, stepped brick parapet, which may or may not be original.
The seven-bay west façade of the building is of brick laid in common bond. Its window openings have plain stone sills and contain paired one-over-one, double-hung sashes, which likely are replacements. At the northern end of this façade, the brick is keyed into the building’s Canal Street façade; below the tenth floor, the northern portion of this façade is of the same light-colored brick as the shaft portion of the building’s main facades, and from the tenth through the twelfth floors, it is of terra cotta. The upper portion of the northern end of this façade is decorated with panels and a variety of moldings. A large metal structure supporting two water tanks is visible over this façade.
The building has a notched southwestern corner containing a metal fire escape and square-headed openings. These openings contain metal doors, metal gates, and two-over-two double-hung sashes, which appear not to be original.
- From the 2009 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report