Germania Bank Building

Art & Culture | History

The real estate coup of the Century!

Germania Bank Building NYC

About Germania Bank Building

 & why it made the Carpe City list

As you walk past the Germania Bank building on the corner of Spring Street and the Bowery, you might think it’s just a six-story hulk covered in graffiti. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of that: it’s a designated NYC landmark that sold in 2015 for $55 Million!

Beyond its hefty price tag, the building’s claim to fame is that it was a single-family home for nearly 50 years. You read that right, this 6-story, 72-room, 35,000 sq ft building, which began its life in 1898 as the Germania Bank, was – from 1966 to 2015 – home to the photographer Jay Maisel.

Maisel bought the building in 1966 for $102,000 and set about transforming it into the home and photography studio he shared with his wife and daughter. The Bank was one of New York’s most elusive spots for the half-century that it was Maisel’s residence. Everyone wanted to know what it looked like inside. Still, nobody did until it was sold in 2015 and converted into condos.

You can get a great glimpse inside (and learn all about Maisel) in the 2019 documentary “Jay Myself.”

Carpe City Trivia

Who is Jay Maisel?

He's a New York native and one of the most accomplished photographers of his generation. Some of his famous shots are the first two covers of New York Magazine and the cover of Miles Davis' album, "Kind of Blue."

Why was it called Germania Bank?

In the second half of the 19th Century, The East Village/Lower East Side was known as "Klein Deutschland" or "Little Germany." The Bowery, in particular, was home to scores of German businesses, banks, saloons, beer gardens, and cultural institutions.

By: Lucie Levine

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