190 Bowery/1–3 Spring Street
Robert Maynicke

Beginning in the 1840s, the area east of the Bowery was called Kleindeutschland because of the enormous German population. By the end of the 19th century, many of these immigrants had well-established institutions in their neighborhoods, and the built environment reflected this. The Germania Bank was one such building, and its architect, Robert Maynicke, immigrated to New York from Germany and trained at Cooper Union, just north of this building. This structure remained an operating bank until 1966, when it closed because of dwindling economic conditions along the Bowery. Photographer Jay Maisel purchased the building for $102,000 that same year and continues to live with his family in this 79-room, 35,000-square-foot structure today. New York magazine called this purchase “the greatest real-estate coup of all time.” This opulent limestone and granite Beaux-Arts bank-turned-residence is virtually intact—though badly scarred by graffiti—and has been a New York City landmark since 2005.