Williamsburgh Savings Bank

April 23, 2009 -

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank is a Brooklyn icon. Also known as One Hanson Place and "The Clocktower," this landmark building was completed in 1929 and remains Brooklyn's tallest structure. Much has been written about the bank's history, including an article at Forgotten NY and a photoessay at Satan's Laundromat. However, there are many hidden spaces remaining inside this massive building, from its basement vaults to the surprisingly small clockworks at the top of the building. Though it once housed dozens of dentists and doctors' offices, few have seen the interior of the bank since it was closed in 2005. Over the last four years, the building has been renovated into a luxury residential complex. Work is still not finished and many residential spaces remain empty, including Penthouse A, with its two private observation decks. Soon, though, the building will be completely filled and permanently closed to the public.

Click here to see part two of this photo essay, including a look inside the Clock Tower Dome.

Basement Vaults

4 Feet Thick

In the Lobby

Teller's Window

Breukelen Mural

Hidden View

Metal and Stone

Ram's Head

Arch and Tower

Observation Deck

Placards and Arches

8: The Fighting at Gowanus

Flatbush and 4th

The Clock Face

Inside the Clock Tower

Clock Works


  1. Unbelievable that somebody gets to own that observation deck. So jealous.

  2. No one owns the observation deck, it is an amenity to all residents of the building

  3. Actually, Anonymous, someone will own those two observation decks off of Penthouse A. There is no way to get to them without going through the penthouse living room. Check the blueprints at www.onehanson.com

    Pretty sweet apartment!

  4. i have been obsessed with this building for 9+ years....have an album of photos of it taken from many vantage points around Brooklyn. would love to show them in the bank itself but then, won't its mystery and potential as a haunted place be lost once it's filled with fancy tenants?

  5. my response, in honor of this fading landmark:

  6. Beautiful photos, Kristin. Thank you for sharing them. And yes, I agree, the bank will be a very different place once it is completely filled with wealthy tenants who can use it as their private playground. Its a shame that the public can't have some piece of this icon to call their own... something like having access to the observation decks...

    I'd been wanting to walk through this building for years, after seeing it on the skyline for so long and wondering about what was inside. I'm just glad I could go inside before it was too late.

  7. These photos are absolutely gorgeous Nathan. Probably some of my favorite so far. That vault alone is just insane. It prob weights a gazillion pounds, wonder what they will do with it...

  8. Great pics...I've been involved with the project for about 4 years now. The place is haunted. Was on one of the mezzanine levels once above the bank area and felt someone touch me although there was no one around. I never ran so fast down flights of stairs in almost pitch black conditions.

  9. Can everyone go inside? i'd love to have a trip there.

  10. Thanks Eric! I don't know what the plan is for the vault... could be a interesting place for a restaurant, though!

    Anonymous 1 - Haunted, eh? Well, there is a lot of history in that bank... imagine how many lives passed through it over the years.

    Anonymous 2 - the bank, the vaults, and rest of the building are not open to the general public, except once a year, when OHNY leads a tour of the bank lobby.

  11. Nathan,

    That Brooklyn mural is unbelievable. Any idea whose work it is, or if it's possible to get a print or something? It's just so beautiful and so detailed.

  12. Hi Chelsea -

    I'm not sure who the original artist was for that Brooklyn Mural... its a huge piece, though, covering the back wall of the banking hall... which is at least 6 stories tall.

    - Nathan

  13. Fantastic photos - I haven't been inside the lobby since it was, well, a bank! A real crime that parts of this building aren't going to remain open to the public. It is a heritage building after all, like the Chrysler or the Empire State.

  14. Growing up in Williamsburg if I ever happened to be lost anywhere in that area I always knew look for and drive towards the clock and I knew I was going in the right direction.

  15. These are unbelievable photos. Some people would otherwise never be able to see these sights, much less first-hand.