For several decades Queens’ tallest building, the 15-story Bank of Manhattan in Queens Plaza was dethroned by the North Shore towers in Glen Oaks and then by the green Citicorp Tower in 1989. Passing by it on the 7 train these days, when it is now being enveloped by massive adjoining residential towers, and you would never guess it once held the throne.
It was completed in 1927, a year when American architecture was shedding Beaux Arts and adopting the more streamlined techniques of the Machine Age. That didn’t stop the Bank’s architects from adding all kinds of Easter eggs way up high, like the 4-sided clockand motifs such as a water bearer, terra cotta fish and shells.
Long Island Star- Journal, October 1925:
The Bank of Manhattan’s new building for Queens Plaza will set the pace for the Long Island City skyline. The building will tower far over the present buildings. The projection is that Bridge Plaza will be the new Times Square of Queens. The 14 story building is to be graced with a four faced clock. The Plaza is expected to become the business and financial center of Queens. Transit facilities give it access to the South Shore as well North Shore.