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Bank of the Metropolis Building, 31 Union Square West

Between East 16th Street & East 17th Street

Carter Horsley
Review by Carter Horsley
Carter Horsley Carter B. Horsley, a former journalist for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Post. Mr. Horsley is also the editorial director of CityRealty.com.
 

The very impressive, limestone-clad, Bank of the Metropolis Building, at 31 Union Square West was built in 1903 by Bruce Price, the father of social arbiter Emily Post.

The columnar tripartite skyscraper combines Price s neo-Renaissance commercial style with classical elements traditionally associated with bank architecture.

Founded in 1871, the Bank of the Metropolis was originally located at 31 Union Square. The bank continued to do business until 1918 when it was absorbed by the Bank of the Manhattan Company, which in turn merged with Chase National Bank to form Chase Manhattan Bank in 1955.

The building later served as a Parsons School of Design dormitory. In 1984, Michael Stewart was beaten to death in front of the building by the NYPD for writing with magic marker on a subway wall. Today, the first level retail space is occupied by Blue Water Grill.

The Bank of the Metropolis Building was designated a landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1988.

The Bank was founded to serve the needs of businesses in the Union Square area. The board of directors included Tiffany (jewelry) Steinway (piano) and Constable and Sloane (department stores). All were local businessmen. In 1918, the bank was absorbed by the Bank of Manhattan, which became Chase Manhattan Bank.

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