Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bee Hive Clock, 8th Ave and 14th Street, New York, NY

Bee Hive Clock, 8th Ave and 14th Street, New York, NY

Following the Financial Panic of 1893 banks felt the need to appear solid – as though they had existed stably for centuries. The Architecture Record emphasized, “The effect of the structure must be one of great importance and simplicity. It must make on the depositors the impression of being a perfectly safe place to leave their money and valuables." In addition, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago had popularized grandeur in architecture as a means to enforce “order, clarity and sobriety” – hallmarks of the City Beautiful Movement.
  Robertson’s resultant building was a Roman temple of white Vermont marble. Finished in 1897 the three-story structure was capped by an impressive copper dome surrounded by twenty square stained glass windows. Consistent with the Roman model, the roofline was trimmed by elegant copper artefixae. Two imposing Corinthian columns flanked the entrance. Inside buttery-colored marble walls and pilasters rose to a barrel-vaulted coffered ceiling.

A marvelous bronze two-faced clock on the corner of the building supports a beehive – the symbol of thrift -- while industrious honeybees flit around the clock faces.
In the summer of 2010 the New Jersey firm of Du-Rite Construction under the eye of Sal DeVito began another renovation to transform Robertson’s white marble temple into a CVS Pharmacy. This, actually, is two FNY motifs in one — this beautiful copper domed, Corinthian-columned building on the NW corner of 8th Avenue and West 14th Street is the former New York Bank For Savings, constructed in 1897 by architect Robert Henderson Robertson. It passed through incarnations as Goldome Bank, Central Carpet, and most recently, Balducci’s, which closed its NYC locations in April 2009. The Classic Revival bank resembles its contemporary, the Bowery Savings Bank in Chinatown. The former bank was restored in the 1980s by Robert Scarano Jr. Note the white marble exterior and the stained glass windows surrounding the dome.The copper clock features renderings of bees and beehives, a traditional symbol of thrift

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