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Thread: One Hanson Place - Williamsburg Savings Bank - Condo - by McCormack & Helmer

  1. #16

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  2. #17

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    Williamsburg Savings Bank Building. February 2005.


  3. #18
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    Thanks. I don't think I've ever seen that angle.

  4. #19
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    Williamsburg Bank Tower To Become $165M Condo


    By Stacey Corso
    Last updated: May 17, 2005

    BROOKLYN, NY-A partnership comprised of the Dermot Co., a private developer based in New York City, and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds LP of Los Angeles has acquired the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank building here. The JV, which is partially controlled by former professional basketball player Magic Johnson, has decided to convert the 78-year-old structure into a $165-million luxury condominium project, one of the largest condo conversions the borough has seen so far this year.

    In addition to its approximately 216 condominium residences, which will range in size from studios to three-bedroom units, the property will have 33,000 sf of ground-floor retail. Starting prices for the condo units were not released at deadline, although the Corcoran Group is the marketing agent. The first units are expected to come on line in the summer of 2006.

    H. Thomas O’Hara has been tapped as the architect. He has been instructed to maintain the landmark property’s exterior facade, interior bank vaults as well as its famous clock tower perched atop the building, according to a spokesman for CJU. K. Robert Turner is a managing partner of Canyon-Urban Johnson Funds, an equity investment fund that is devoted to revitalizing apartment buildings and mixed-use projects in inner cities. He is a partner with Johnson. This transaction marks CJU’s first purchase utilizing equity from its second fund, Canyon-Urban Johnson Fund II, which is capitalized with $600 million of equity.

    “This property is in a great location, near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the proposed Nets’ stadium in Downtown Brooklyn at Flatbush Avenue,” a spokesman for CJU tells GlobeSt.com. By the end of 2005, CJU intends to deliver a pipeline of $1.5 billion in revitalized or new development projects in 25 densely populated urban cores across the country, which will be done mostly in partnership with local development companies that have expertise in their particular market, such as the Dermot Co. Financing for One Hanson Pl. was provided by Citibank Community Development and Cushman & Wakefield represented seller HSBC in the building sale.


    © 2005 by GlobeSt.com

  5. #20
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    HIGH HOOPS FOR BROOKLYN


    Towering over the Brooklyn skyline,
    the Williamsburg Savings Bank building will
    be converted into condos by Magic Johnson
    and his partners.
    Photo: N.Y. Post: Spencer A. Burnett


    By PATRICK GALLAHUE

    May 18, 2005 -- NBA legend Magic Johnson is Brooklyn's newest real-estate mogul - he's becoming part owner of the borough's tallest building.

    The old Williamsburg Savings Bank building at 1 Hanson Place, not far from where the Nets will play if developer Bruce Ratner succeeds in his plan to build an arena in Downtown Brooklyn, will be transformed into about 200 luxury condos with high-end retail stores on the ground level.

    Johnson, who at 6-9 was once the tallest point guard in the NBA, bought a share of the 34-story skyscraper because, "We are believers in Brooklyn as a place that is economically growing, entertaining and the place to be," he said.

    His Williamsburg Bank shot, he said, will bring "high-quality residential and retail components together [and] bring about even further revitalization to the already-vibrant Brooklyn community."

    The landmark is being acquired by the $600 million Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, where Magic is a partner, and the Manhattan-based Dermot Co.

    The Post first reported last year that Dermot was in contract to buy the building, topped by one of the largest four-faced clocks in the world.

    Both Dermot and Canyon-Johnson refused to discuss the cost of buying and renovating the building, but a source told The Post last year it would be about $165 million.

    For more than 75 years, the building has towered over the Brooklyn skyline.

    In recent times, it has lost some of its luster, serving mainly as space for dentists - even earning the nickname "the filling station," said Howard Pitsch, a Fort Greene activist for historic preservation.

    Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said he's anxious not to force the dentists out.

    "I want to keep the dentists' practice together in Downtown Brooklyn," he said.

    Markowitz also said he wanted assurances that the building's ornate lobby would be preserved.

    "Manhattan has the Empire State Building and Chrysler, and we've got our Williamsburg," he said.

    Canyon-Johnson managing partner Bobby Turner pledged, "We will absolutely honor the architectural integrity of the building."

    And, he added, while most of the dentists are on month-to-month leases, the new owners would try to come to relocation agreements wherever needed.



    Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.


    Williamsburg Savings Bank bought

    May 17, 2005

    The Williamsburg Savings Bank Building has been bought by Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, an investment concern started by “Magic” Johnson, and the Dermot Co., which plan to renovate the landmarked, 35-story tower into condominiums and ground-floor retail space.

    Canyon-Johnson and Dermot bought the nearly 80-year-old tower, which is Brooklyn's tallest building, from HSBC. The bank put the building on the block last year.

    The project, which will be called One Hanson Place, marks Canyon-Johnson's second Brooklyn project. The fund is also an investor in Park Place, a mixed-use development of condos, retail and parking under construction in Park Slope. It is the first investment for the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund II, whose investors include the major city pension funds.


    COPYRIGHT 2005 CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS INC.
    Last edited by krulltime; May 18th, 2005 at 02:23 PM.

  6. #21
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    B'KLYN DENTISTS BID TO STAY ROOTED IN LANDMARK


    By PATRICK GALLAHUE

    May 23, 2005 -- Dentists in the just-sold Williamsburg Savings Bank building are calling the likelihood that they'll be pulled from Brooklyn's famous skyscraper a painful kick in the teeth.
    "This building has been intimately involved with dentistry since the beginning," said Dr. Ian Lerner, 44, leader of a coalition of dentists concerned with their extraction from the Tooth Tower.

    Last week's deal between building owner HSBC and a partnership of investors that includes NBA legend Magic Johnson would convert the borough's tallest structure into a $165 million luxury-residence building with about 200 condos.

    The 34-story landmark contains about 24 dental offices housing some 40 dentists, Lerner said, but in its heyday was dental central, with more than 100 specialists. It even served as the headquarters for the Second District Dental Society, earning it such nicknames as the Mental Dental Building and the Filling Station, he noted.

    "It's been one of the most important buildings for dentistry in the country," Lerner said.

    That the new owners' could call the building "underutilized," he added, is "a slap in the face to the dental community."


    Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  7. #22
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    A Brooklyn Tower Packed With Dentists, and They All Have to Come Out


    Dr. Gary Klemons works on a
    patient at the Williamsburgh Savings
    Bank building. His father worked there
    for 50 years.



    By DAN BARRY
    Published: May 28, 2005

    DENTISTS, dentists, dentists. Orthodontists, periodontists and those conversant in lower porcelain laminates. Lerner, Greenberg, Klemons and Teplitsky. Donato, Eisenberger, Franzetti and Klein. Dentists.

    For decades now, the sight of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building rising from the Brooklyn flatness has reminded people to open savings accounts, invest wisely and brush their teeth twice a day. That is because within its light-brick facade, high above the bank vault, there lurk dentists drilling, filling and speaking of gingivitis.

    It is not entirely clear how the tallest building in Brooklyn, a bank building at that, came to be a castle of dental care. Could have been the cheap rent during the Depression. Could have been the lure of the Atlantic Terminal transportation hub across the street. Or maybe one dentist told another dentist, and, well, there went the neighborhood.

    Before long, dozens of dentists were distracting their benumbed patients by pointing out the windows to a breathtaking panorama of Brooklyn and beyond. It was a jaw-dropping view, which helped with the business at hand.

    "Beeueefoo!" the patients exclaimed.

    Well more than 100 dentists had offices in the building - which is actually in Fort Greene, not Williamsburg - along with lab technicians, dental-supply businesses and the august Second District Dental Society. How many children studied the tiny tiles in the lobby's ceiling and imagined them to be the extracted teeth of other kids? How many people gazed at the building jutting from the horizon and thought of the single tooth in the maw of that hapless cartoon character, the Brooklyn Dodgers bum?

    "This building has a long history with dentistry," lamented Dr. Ian Lerner, a dentist on the 29th floor. He might as well have used the past tense.

    The building has only 40 dentists now; new ones have not come along to replace the old ones. More devastating, though, was the 35-story building's sale last week to Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds and the Dermot Company, which plan to transform it into a luxury condominium complex. The current tenants - doctors, nonprofit groups and so many dentists - have been told it's time to go. Time to pack up those pamphlets on periodontal disease.

    This means Dr. Gilbert Kringstein in Suite 2301, a tenant since the mid-1960's, who remembers the convenience of practicing in a dental colony. "I'll bet you I had - on the 16th floor? - maybe eight referring doctors," he said. It means Dr. Gary Klemons in Suite 708, whose father, Jerry, retired in December after working in the building for 50 years. "Dad was a dental technician," he said. "He made the dentures. Actually fabricated the teeth."

    And it means Dr. Lerner, who jokes that his occupancy of the highest office makes him "Brooklyn's top dentist - in a geographic sense." Devoted to his profession, he is vice president of the Second District Dental Society and even displays a "History of Dentistry" poster in the office bathroom. ("249 A.D. Apollonia, the patron saint of dentists, is burned after having her teeth knocked out. Depictions of her are usually shown with forceps.")

    He is also devoted to this building, so much so that his business card depicts its famous dome and clock face. His deep understanding of its place in dental history includes this little nugget: "I think the office I have now used to be an oral surgeon's office that treated some of the Brooklyn Dodgers."

    When it became clear that the luxurious renovation would not have room for dentists, Dr. Lerner became Dr. Braveheart, rallying a small band of fellow tenants to stand up for dentistry. This week, he presented the owners with a proposal to reserve some space for dental and medical suites. At the very least, he argued, tenants need more time to find or build new offices.

    ANDREW MacARTHUR, one of the principal owners, knew of Dr. Lerner's proposal, but said, "That's not in our plans." He said that some dentists in the building were close to finding office space elsewhere and that he would try to accommodate those who needed more time. But he emphasized that the owners wanted to move forward with their "major gut rehab" - a total extraction, if you will.

    Suspended between its past and its future, the tallest building in Brooklyn has a spooky air these days. HSBC Bank, which sold the building, has moved out of most of the offices it occupied. Other former tenants are remembered only in the gold lettering on the frosted panes of their old offices. Abandoned sets of letters - D.D.S. and D.M.D. - are everywhere.

    The other day, a dentist, surgical mask dangling from his neck, walked down the nearly empty 16th floor. He was whistling - maybe in sadness, or maybe in gleeful contemplation of affluent condo owners with aching teeth, and no good dentist nearby.


    Stephanie Ali, a dental assistant,
    outside the Williamsburgh Savings building,
    which will become condos.


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  8. #23

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    Wow, thanks for the memory jog.

    We lived in Carroll Gardens at the time. My mother dragged me (literally) to the dentist. The sight of Big Willy only magnified my fear.

    The office was way up, and I vaguely remember the view, especially with hardly any tall buildings in Brooklyn. But I mostly remember the office - right out of Film Noir.

  9. #24
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    It would be great if the entire building was opened up for Open House NY. No tenants to bother, and maybe access to the obs deck and clock tower.

  10. #25

    Default Ugggh...Brooklyn uninhabitable....

    Gosh, they're making Brooklyn uninhabitable for the "regular" folks that don't have luxury condo money! Good thing we bought our properties before the "boom."

    From Fort Greene Park:
    [/quote]

  11. #26

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    June 11, 2006
    For Brooklyn's Beacon, the Luxe Life
    By JEFF VANDAM

    IT'S all gone: every diamond ring, every stack of bills and birth certificate. Today, the safe deposit boxes in the subterranean vault of what used to be the Williamsburgh Savings Bank lie empty in haphazard piles on the dusty floor. The massive vault doors, several feet thick, stand open. No calls will ever go out to Mrs. Helen Massone, whose number is still listed on the wall in case of emergency.

    The 512-foot tower of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, at the intersection of Hanson Place and Ashland Place, has, since its completion 77 years ago, been by far the borough's tallest building. It was the flagship of Brooklyn's leading financial institution, one of the nation's largest banks. For many Brooklynites, it was also the place to go to get your teeth fixed — home to legions of dentists, orthodontists and periodontists.

    Now, after months of publicity, the tower is poised to begin a new life. Workers are already transforming the space into luxury condominiums, which go on sale starting Tuesday, carrying price tags from $350,000 to $3 million. The building's name now is just One Hanson Place, although it has been given a marketing slogan: "Own a piece of history."

    What all this means to the people of Brooklyn is hard to assess. A fortunate few will buy new homes in the old bank, with splendid views. Others have objected, contending that no one who needs affordable housing will be able to live in this architectural icon.

    To most Brooklynites, it is surely the building's exterior, especially the four illuminated clock faces below the dome, that matters most. But there is some question about how visible these images will be in the future. A 22-acre plot of land around the corner is the site of the proposed Atlantic Yards development, including a basketball arena and more than a dozen new towers, which some critics of the Atlantic Yards proposal say could obscure the bank building's pride of place as the grandest light on the borough's skyline. After three-quarters of a century, they fear, the classic skyscraper that has been Brooklyn's beacon could disappear from view.

    When Adam Pacelli was growing up in Park Slope in the late 1970's and early 80's, he was one of those youngsters who as they fell asleep looked out bedroom windows at the four faces of the clock tower. But the young Adam didn't just use the building as his second wristwatch; he created a comic-book superhero who lived inside it.

    "He would stand out under the arches, under the dome — his living room was in the dome before I realized how small the dome was," said Mr. Pacelli, an animated man of 35 who can still see the building at night, now from his house in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. "He'd go into the arches down below and survey the city." The hero was named Dig, adopted from the bellow ("Caaaaan yooouuu dig it?") of the character Cyrus in the 1979 film "The Warriors."

    Dig's enemy, Mr. Big, lived behind the clock on top of 1 Main Street in Dumbo, which has since been turned into the Clocktower condominiums. Dig led a band of underground musicians who battled the minions of Mr. Big, the corporate ruler of the record industry.

    "Everyone knew it existed," Mr. Pacelli said of the dome atop the tower, "but no one knew what went on up there." The space hung, like fate, over the lives of countless Brooklyn children with cavities when they were taken for drilling. In Mr. Pacelli's comic universe, the hero Dig went to see a dentist in the building one day and managed to sneak upstairs.

    Today, Mr. Pacelli is a vice president at the Corcoran Group, the firm marketing the building, and part of his job is to lead tours of One Hanson Place. But he also seems to enjoy having the chance to explore every nook and cranny of the building that so dominated his childhood imagination.

    On a recent afternoon, Mr. Pacelli, looking dapper in a pink shirt and a pink-and-black-striped tie, took a few visitors from the dank vault up to the airy interior of the dome. While no masked guitarists lurked in the shadows, Mr. Pacelli invited his guests to climb onto a catwalk and stick their heads out between the steel slats that make up the face of the dome, just below its apex. The whole of Brooklyn stretched out below.

    The small dome space will not become a living room for a tenant, superhero or otherwise. And so far the 10th floor, which will house the sales office and model units, is the only one where renovations are nearly complete. The space, once divided into dental and medical offices, has been gutted to create an expansive, high-ceilinged interior, flooded by the light poring in from the large windows. The rest of the apartments in the building, which will have 189 units in all, are scheduled to be completed in a year. But the task of taking a tall, somewhat narrow 1920's office building and carving apartments out of its innards will not be easy.

    "It's sort of like a giant jigsaw puzzle," said Andrew Macarthur, a principal of the Dermot Company, which bought the building last year with Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, a development group whose managing director is the former basketball star Magic Johnson. "As you wend your way through this old structure, you have to figure out how to remold the interior into something totally new and different while retaining all the features that make it a unique building."

    On the tour, Mr. Pacelli also took visitors to the great banking hall, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission has described as a "cathedral of thrift." The building's owners hope to rent the landmark-designated space to Borders, the book-selling chain, but on this day the teller windows stood empty and a few crumpled deposit slips littered the banking tables. A tile mosaic depicting the sun of commerce, shining its rays down on the original Dutch towns that joined to form Brooklyn, loomed over the empty scene below. "It smells like a church," one visitor said.

    'A Cursed Little Part of Brooklyn'

    Exactly what stood at One Hanson Place before the tower began rising on the site in 1927 is not certain. There may have been a church there, and before that, a doctor's office. (Historical records mention a Dr. Maddren, who in 1879 treated a family on Atlantic Avenue for trichinosis.) What is clear is that the neighborhood around Hanson Place was never a hot spot for business, though the Long Island Rail Road terminal was nearby, along with several subway stops.

    "It's almost like a cursed little part of Brooklyn," said Francis Morrone, a historian who is the author of "An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn." "It's been a big transit hub forever, and for some reason it has never attracted the development everybody assumed it would."

    The overwhelming stench of the old Fort Greene Meat Market probably didn't help matters. In any case, most of the borough's business was concentrated about a mile away, in the area around Borough Hall.

    Yet in the years after World War I, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, which had outgrown the building in north Brooklyn it had occupied since 1875, saw an opportunity at One Hanson Place. In 1926, the bank's managers commissioned the firm of Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, architects of the grand Beaux-Arts building of the Dime Savings Bank on nearby DeKalb Avenue, to design a modern office tower for the site. As the building went up and the Roaring Twenties careened forward, it was widely assumed that a new Brooklyn skyline would rise with the bank tower, whose marble base and carved stone pelicans, beehives and owls at eye level were impressive images even before the building was finished.

    The tower opened on April 1, 1929; the hands of its clocks, at the time the country's largest, were illuminated by red electric lights, and the dome was lit against the Brooklyn sky. But the dream of a new skyline died with the stock market crash, which occurred just seven months later.

    Where Old Fish Stowed His Money

    Unlike similar institutions, Williamsburgh Savings prospered during the Depression, and the tower became the symbol of its success. By 1936, images of what was praised as "Brooklyn's Best Known Building" dominated its advertisements.

    On Christmas Eve of that year, a man known as Old Fish died of pneumonia at Cumberland Hospital in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. People didn't know much about him, according to an article published five days later in The New York Times, except that he lived in a small attic on Cumberland Street, peddled fruit, vegetables and fish, and was cheap. (When his landlady proposed that he buy a $1 chicken, he suggested she buy the chicken and he would pay 10 cents for every bowl of broth it produced.)

    Old Fish, too, could be seen as a symbol of the bank's success. He died because he wouldn't pay the $3 it cost to see a doctor, but he did entrust Williamsburgh Savings with his money. Among his things, police detectives found a key to a safe deposit box, which led to the bank's vault, seven blocks from his home. The box contained bankbooks and mortgage documents showing that Old Fish was worth more than $80,000, a fortune during those Depression years.

    Old Fish was hardly the only one who saw the bank as a safe place for his money. By 1940, Williamsburgh Savings was the country's fourth largest bank, with a staff of 230 and assets of $263 million. But the building was destined to receive further notice for another sort of tenant.

    The dentists for whom the tower became known arrived as a likely result of a marketing effort by the bank, Mr. Morrone said. By the 1960's, almost every floor not dedicated to banking was occupied by offices of more than 100 dental practitioners. Some boosters claimed the building was the world's largest dental center.

    Among the early dental occupants was Joseph Franzetti, who started a practice in the building in 1960, according to his son, Louis, a periodontist and dental implant surgeon who still occupies the space his father first rented — Suites 1209 and 1210, both of which have sweeping views of New York Harbor. "He went to St John's Men's College nearby, which no longer exists," Dr. Franzetti said of his father. "He thought this was a very special building. For him, it was the best of the best that was in Brooklyn at the time."

    As it turned out, the dentists outlived the bank, which began to suffer financial troubles in the 1970's. In 1986, it was sold, and the company that bought it was itself bought in 1999 by HSBC, an international financial services organization. HSBC operated a bank branch in the building for a time, but put the tower on the market in 2004. The next year, the Dermot Company and Canyon-Johnson bought the building and announced its conversion to condominiums.

    Many of the dentists will lose their offices in the conversion (Dr. Franzetti is among only 16 who will stay on), but they weren't the only ones unhappy with the building's new role. In April, nearly 100 protesters gathered outside the tower to demand low-income housing in return for the city tax breaks for which the development, as a rehabilitation project, will be eligible.

    "When they invited me to their grand opening, I told them I am not going," said City Councilwoman Letitia James, who participated in the protest and whose district office occupies a storefront just down Hanson Place from the tower. "Downtown Brooklyn is becoming very homogeneous. We need to preserve the diversity of downtown Brooklyn. We need to advance it."

    In response, Mr. Macarthur of the Dermot Company said it would not be financially feasible for his company to include subsidized housing in the building.

    Meanwhile, the latest renderings for Atlantic Yards, the arena and towers project proposed by Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner, show the bank tower next to several taller new office and residential towers, leading some residents to wonder just how visible the tower will be once it is joined by the new high-rises.

    "It would be obliterated in its current form from many views in many neighborhoods," said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for the group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. (The architect for Atlantic Yards is Frank Gehry; Forest City Ratner is the development partner of The New York Times Company in building its new headquarters on Eighth Avenue.)

    "Could you imagine if somebody proposed to block or obliterate most views of the Empire State Building?" added Mr. Goldstein, whose group opposes Mr. Ratner's plans. "Can you imagine the uproar?"

    A rendering on www.atlanticyards.com, a Web site run by Forest City Ratner, shows what several of the new buildings would look like from Flatbush Avenue at Prospect Place, but the bank tower is not visible. In a current photo taken from the same location on the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Web site (www.developdontdestroy.org), the tower stands alone. And today, from Bay Ridge to Brooklyn Heights, from Borough Park to Boerum Hill, the dome and the clock of the old bank still dominate the sky, just as in the days of Old Fish.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  12. #27
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    i didnt see this posted before... http://www.onehanson.com/

    only the bottom has been released so far.

  13. #28

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    Open House NY


    One Hanson Place

    neighborhood: Fort Greene
    Sat: 6 Oct 2007, 12pm-5pm
    Sun: 7 Oct 2007, 12pm-5pm
    Continuous open access, first come basis, lining up if necessary
    Maximum people: 50
    building date: 1929
    architect: Halsey, McCormick & Helmer
    other architects/consultants: conversion architect, H. Thomas O'Hara

    This landmark skyscraper has a ground floor main banking room in ornate Romanesque Revival style, with soaring 40-ft arches.

    subway: C to Lafayette Ave/ Fulton St, D, M, N, Q, R, 2, 3,
    bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67.
    other transportation: LIRR to Flatbush/ Atlantic Ave.

  14. #29

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    New York Times
    October 3, 2007

    A Skyscraper in Brooklyn Tantalizes With Time

    By ANDY NEWMAN


    The clock atop the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, covered for more than a year, was partly unveiled Tuesday.

    Brooklyn glimpsed a familiar face yesterday.

    Four of them, actually.

    They grace the borough’s very own Big Ben: the clock atop the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, Brooklyn’s tallest skyscraper.

    Unseen beneath black veils for more than a year while undergoing a makeover, the clock was partly revealed. The building’s owners, the Dermot Company, took some of the netting down yesterday.

    But not all of it. Like the hidden assets of a chorus girl in fishnet stockings, the rounded bottoms of the dials can be seen only through a scrim of black mesh.

    The Dermot Company, which is converting the building, now known as 1 Hanson Place, into condos, said that it was not sure when the clock would work again.

    The hands do not appear to be working yet — not that they ever reliably did even before the renovation. Though the clock has been one of the borough’s most visible landmarks since the tower was completed in 1929, its four faces often showed different times. Dermot officials have said that they hope the spiffed-up clock will be better synchronized with itself.

    Robert Goldstrom, an artist who has painted the clock’s likeness more than 80 times (15 since the netting went up), said he could already tell that the clock was a lot cleaner. But he was not sure that that was an entirely good thing.

    “It’s like the Sistine Chapel,” he said. “Some people got very upset when it was cleaned. You’ve got to get used to it not looking sooty. I’m sure I will miss the subtler, dimmer clock tower.”

    Still, Mr. Goldstrom said, “It’s good to have it back.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  15. #30

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    From the New York Times



    A Skyscraper in Brooklyn Tantalizes With Time

    By ANDY NEWMAN
    Published: October 3, 2007

    Brooklyn glimpsed a familiar face yesterday.

    Four of them, actually.

    They grace the borough’s very own Big Ben: the clock atop the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, Brooklyn’s tallest skyscraper.

    Unseen beneath black veils for more than a year while undergoing a makeover, the clock was partly revealed. The building’s owners, the Dermot Company, took some of the netting down yesterday.

    But not all of it. Like the hidden assets of a chorus girl in fishnet stockings, the rounded bottoms of the dials can be seen only through a scrim of black mesh.

    The Dermot Company, which is converting the building, now known as 1 Hanson Place, into condos, said that it was not sure when the clock would work again.

    The hands do not appear to be working yet — not that they ever reliably did even before the renovation. Though the clock has been one of the borough’s most visible landmarks since the tower was completed in 1929, its four faces often showed different times. Dermot officials have said that they hope the spiffed-up clock will be better synchronized with itself.

    Robert Goldstrom, an artist who has painted the clock’s likeness more than 80 times (15 since the netting went up), said he could already tell that the clock was a lot cleaner. But he was not sure that that was an entirely good thing.

    “It’s like the Sistine Chapel,” he said. “Some people got very upset when it was cleaned. You’ve got to get used to it not looking sooty. I’m sure I will miss the subtler, dimmer clock tower.”

    Still, Mr. Goldstrom said, “It’s good to have it back.”


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    By ASchwarz in forum Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and SI Real Estate
    Replies: 15
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