Broke Bank Palace

Posted on: September 8th, 2008 at 9:24 am by

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There are now signs of life in the relatively vacant storefront of 77 Delancey. On most days, typically during the workweek, the gates are usually up, revealing a full bar and ratty couches behind dusty windows. So the other day I decided to stop in, have a looksy, and see if I could gather more information.

This image has been archived or removed.

This image has been archived or removed.

At the side entrance, I was greeted by a friendly woman who introduced herself as the owner of Good World Bar & Grill [link] on Orchard Street. She proceeded to inform me that this space is her latest restaurant venture on the LES, White Slab Palace. The new eatery will flirt with elements of Swedish cuisine, and will allegedly open to the public in about six weeks.

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The iconic structure was erected in 1914 to house the deceptively-named Bank of the United States. At the time, many immigrants mistakenly believed the NY-chartered bank was a federal government institution. Despite such confusion, business prospered, with the total number of depositors ballooning to 400,000. The success was short-lived, however, as the bank was one of the first casualties in the crash of 1929. It finally succumbed in 1932.

Shortly thereafter, the building became headquarters for the venerable Hebrew Publishing Company. Founded in 1891, the company released a wide range of secular and religious publications in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish. It occupied the building until 1976.

  • The Lower East Side: A Guide to Its Jewish Past [link]
  • New York City Chinatown: 77 Delancey Street [link]
  • Streetscapes: The Bank of the United States in the Bronx [NYT]

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