Capitale - Bowery Savings Bank

Art & Culture | History

From Savings Bank to making bank - how a working man's repository became one of Manhattan's swankiest event spaces

Capitale Bowery Savings Bank Exterior Nolita

About Capitale - Bowery Savings Bank

 & why it made the Carpe City list

You’re looking at one of the hottest spots in New York. Since 2002, “130 Bowery” has been home to “Capitale,” a venue known to draw everyone from Chris Rock to Kanye, and Gossip Girl and SVU have shot there. But before it was the club du jour, it was New York’s OG Beaux-Arts masterpiece. It’s so gorgeous; it’s landmarked inside and out!

The building, originally the “Bowery Savings Bank,” was designed by gilded age starchitect Stanford White in 1893 and opened in 1985. It is double-landmarked and on “The National Register of Historic Places” because it’s one of the first buildings in the country to be designed in the Beaux-Arts Style. (Which was introduced to the U.S. at “The Colombian Exposition” in Chicago in 1893.) Accordingly, the building is exceptionally opulent! You’re looking at Corinthian columns, marble mosaics, Venetian glass, 65-foot ceilings, and incredible ornamental sculpture by Frederick MacMonnies.

But, what really made it beautiful was the purpose it served. The Bowery Savings Bank held the hopes and fortunes of Lower East Side (LES) residents through the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Every immigrant group who called the LES home was represented at the bank. And, it was a true neighborhood institution: its officers and trustees went unpaid for decades.

Amazingly, bank records dating back to the 1830s, when it was founded, were discovered in a Brooklyn basement in April 2019. Historians are working to preserve the documents and make them public!

Carpe City Trivia

What is "Beaux-Arts" style?

Beaux-Arts is a form of French Neoclassicism that gained popularity after the French Revolution and remained the dominant style (especially at L'Ecole Des Beaux Arts) throughout the 19th Century. It was prevalent in America from the 1880s - the 1920s.

OK, But what does that mean?

The Beaux-Arts architecture looks back to classic examples of Greece and Rome, but with Gothic and Baroque elements thrown in. You'll see a marble galore, a slew of columns, arched windows, and a myriad of sculptures and ornamentation. For example, "Grand Central Terminal," "The Met," and "The New York Public Library" are all Beaux Arts masterpieces.

By: Lucie Levine

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