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1 Hanson Place in Fort Greene: Review and Ratings | CityRealty

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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 finest landmark skyscraper in Brooklyn and one of the best Art Deco towers in New York City, One Hanson Place was erected in 1927 as the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower and was converted to 175 residential condominiums in 2006. 

Designed by Halsey, McCormack and Helmer in a Byzantine Romanesque style, it was for many years the tallest building in Brooklyn at 37 stories and 512 feet. It is next to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and across from the Atlantic Yards project. 

One Handson Place is located at the corner of Ashland Place near the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn and not Williamsburg where the bank's original headquarters building, designed by George B. Post, still stands.

Bottom Line

The heart of Brooklyn, this residential skyscraper is situated between the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the borough’s cultural center, and the Atlantic Yards, a giant mixed-use project at the borough’s transportation hub.  In addition, the building has spectacular views in all directions and is one of the city’s Art Deco masterpieces with a domed roof above its 17-foot-wide, illuminated  clocks.

Description

One Hanson Place is notable for its very impressive, 63-foot-high former banking hall, which is now used as a banquet hall, and for its domed top that was placed at the insistence of the bank over the protest of the architects. 

The vaulted hall has large windows with iron cutouts depicting workers and students and a ceiling painted blue with gold stars. Its window surrounds have carvings with the motif of thrift such as beehives, squirrels storing nuts, wise owls, Mercury, the god of commerce, and lions whose paws protect the bank's lockbox. 

The architect for the project at Halsey, McCormack and Helmer, Robert Helmer, wrote that he wanted the building "to be regarded as a cathedral dedicated to the furtherance of thrift and prosperity." 

Glass doors applied with wrought iron screens depicting artisan trades open to the 128-foot-long limestone banking hall and were designed by Rene Chambellan, whose fabulous work decorates the public interior spaces of the Chanin Building on the southwest corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. 

The floor is inlaid with various colored marbles in the Cosmatesque manner and at the hall's far end a large mosaic panel gives a bird's-eye view of "Breuckelen" with Manhattan in the distance beyond and the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower illuminated in a shaft of sunlight. 

On the exterior is a long inscription: 

"TO OUR DEPOSITORS PAST AND PRESENT THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED. BY THEIR INDUSTRY AND THRIFT THEY HAVE BUILT HOMES AND EDUCATED CHILDREN, OPENED THE DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY TO YOUTH AND MADE AGE COMFORTABLE INDEPENDENT AND DIGNIFIED. BY THOSE STURDY VIRTUES THEY HAVE OBTAINED THEIR AMBITIONS, SWEPT ASIDE THE PETTY DISTINCTIONS OF CLASS AND BIRTH AND SO MAINTAINED THE TRUE SPIRIT OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY." 

The building has a gilded copper dome and lions, birds and turtles are part of the exterior decoration. 

The buff-colored brick walls rise in successive setbacks to a tower capped by a gold dome. Near the top is a four-faced clock, 17 feet in diameter, with colored hands designed to be visible 30 to 40 miles away.

Amenities

The building has a 24-hour doorman/concierge, a business center, a children's playroom, bicycle and stroller storage, private storage, a gym and terrace and a sky lounge and terrace.

Apartments

One Hanson Place’s condo apartments range in size from studios to penthouse duplexes and many units have terraces.  Almost all units have stunning views. 

Apartment 17E is a studio unit with a 23-foot-long living space with an open kitchenette. 

Apartment 12F is a one-bedroom unit with a 17-foot-long living/dining area with a pass-through kitchen and a foyer. 

Apartment 22D is a three-bedroom unit with a very long entrance foyer that leads to a large living room adjoined by a large dining area with a pass-through kitchen. 

Apartment 24D is a two-bedroom unit with two long terraces. 

Apartment 27A is a three-bedroom unit with a small foyer that opens onto a very large dining area with an open kitchen with an island and a large living area. 

Apartment 26A is a four-bedroom year with an enormous terrace accessed by three of the bedrooms and a smaller terrace off the very large dining/living area. 

Penthouse A is a duplex with a large living/dining area on the lower level flanked on the sides by large terraces.  It has two bedrooms on the upper level.

History

This skyscraper was erected in 1927 and the next year the Real Estate Record & Guide predicted that the building would "long be the borough's dominant landmark.'' 

In 2010, however, the Brooklyner at 111 Lawrence Street apartment tower took over the title of the tallest building in Brooklyn. 

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank was taken over by the Republic National Bank, and then, via a merger, HSBC. 

For many years, many of the tower's offices were occupied by dentists who were also known to occupy most of the top floors of the Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. 

Magic Johnson, the well-known basketball player, was one of the sponsors of the residential condominium conversion. He was a principal of the Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, the co-developer of the conversion with The Dermot Company. The Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds is a joint venture between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and Earvin "Magic" Johnson. 

The building once had an observation desk on its 26th floor. 

The building was declared an official city landmark in 1977 and in 1989 the bank installed 906 new windows in the building without the prior approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which then sued, successfully, to enforce that the restoration of windows in the building conform to their original appearance. 

In a November 12, 1989, Christopher Gray wrote in The New York Times that "The bank was permitted to install false muntin strips on the 1-over-1 panes to make them look like 2-over-2." 

H. Thomas O'Hara was the architect for the residential conversion.

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One United Nations Park
Between East 39th Street & East 40th Street
Murray Hill
One United Nations Park is an unprecedented interplay of privacy and light—a balance that reflects the architecture’s bold exterior and luminous interiors.
Learn More
One United Nations Park - Exterior View - Building One United Nations Park - Exterior/Interior View - Terrace and Living Room One United Nations Park - Interior View - Colorful Living Room One United Nations Park - Interior View - Bedroom One United Nations Park - Interior View - Children's Play Room