Bank of the Manhattan Company Building

29-27 Queens Plaza North
Morrell Smith


Colloquially known as the “Long Island City Clock Tower,” this neo-Gothic style building was designated as a New York City Individual Landmark in 2015, but it is a landmark in every sense of the word. Standing at 14 stories tall, the structure was Queens’ tallest until the construction of the Citigroup building at One Court Square in 1990. Its location in one of the borough’s busiest transportation hubs has made the building a prominent fixture. Queensboro Bridge Plaza (now Queens Plaza) became an important commercial center after the 1909 completion of the Queensboro Bridge and the construction of numerous elevated transit lines that converged here. The Manhattan Company, founded by Aaron Burr in 1799 and a precursor to J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., merged with the Bank of Long Island in 1920, and established 40 branches in Queens over the next decade. This building, located in the heart of the borough, would be a showpiece for the company. Its grand, 14-foot diameter, four-faced clock has provided subway riders with a time check on their commute to work for roughly 90 years. The clock tower itself occupies the top three stories of the building. When it opened in 1927, the Bank of the Manhattan Company occupied the basement, ground floor and mezzanine, and the rest of the building was rented as office space. The banking hall’s interior, finished in marble with brass hardware throughout, remains largely intact, though covered in gypsum wallboard. The exterior is clad in buff brick with limestone trim, and its verticality is emphasized by bands of contrasting brick that draw the eye to the highly ornate clock tower. In addition to the clock faces, this section features reliefs of the god Oceanus, a symbol of the bank, and monograms of the bank’s initials, as well as a crenellated roofline. The Bank of the Manhattan Company Building was designated a NYC Individual Landmark in 2015.