by Kevin Walsh

THE region of Brooklyn’s DUMBO in the immediate Fulton Ferry area is one of my favorite parts of town to poke around in and I hope to get back there sometime in 2023. I always either seem to find something “new” or revisit locales I know about already.

One of these places is the former Long Island Safe Deposit Building, #1 Front Street at Old Fulton Street (formerly Cadman Plaza West and before that, Fulton Street). One of Brooklyn’s more impressive cast-iron building facades, the edifice dates to 1868 and was designed by William Mundell. The opening of Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 made life difficult for businesses on lower Fulton Street, because the ferry was now being bypassed in favor of the bridge and the bank was no exception; it closed in 1891. Its presence a testimony to how this part of town was formerly one of Brooklyn’s business hubs; its subsequent decline was symptomatic of the neighborhood’s decline after ferry service ended in 1924. In recent years, the building has been restored to much of its old glory.

Improbably, Fulton Ferry has become a gourmet pizza hotbed. Grimaldi’s came first a couple of decades ago, and moved into this building recently. Its old location a few doors down is now occupied by Juliana’s. I have sampled Grimaldi’s but not Juliana’s but in NYC, it’s hard to find bad pizza and Juliana’s is no doubt excellent.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Hilary March 13, 2023 - 6:11 pm

In the mid ’80s, that space was home to the elegant Ferrybank restaurant, opened by a guy who’d worked at Gage & Tollner’s for years. But this was before DUMBO’s warehouses were turned into expensive lofts, so it didn’t survive.

chris March 13, 2023 - 10:09 pm

Ferry service ended there in 1924.So some people still used the ferry even with the bridge
in place?Interesting.
I remember when the Hare Krishnas briefly rented “The Bank”,as we called it,sometime
around 1970.I tried hanging out there because I was interested in this Hare Krishna chick but
her heart already belonged to Lord Krishna. Bummer

Anonymous March 13, 2023 - 11:48 pm

I’ve always been a great fan of William Mundell.

KeyPete March 14, 2023 - 2:01 am

Juliana’s is the real Grimaldi’s (which was the real Patsy’s) and the pizza at Juliana’s is excellent and worth waiting in line for (which you will likely need to do). Patsy Grimaldi owned the place in the Juliana’s spot when it was the original Grimaldi’s (but only because he had already sold the Patsy’s name). He sold it in 1998, but the new owners were then forced to move after a landlord dispute and ended up in the Long Island Safe Deposit Building where it is now. Then Patsy put the original coal oven back to work in 2012, much to the consternation of Frank Ciolli, the owner of faux Grimaldi’s. Patsy couldn’t legally use either of his old names, so he named the new joint after his mother. That still did not satisfy Mr. Ciolli and he and his lawyers tried their best to stop Patsy from encroaching on what he thought was his and only his gourmet pizza turf, but they failed, and Patsy’s/Grimaldi’s lives on in yet another disguise. The managers and staff at Juliana’s are top notch and I’ve had family birthday gatherings there. I feel no need to eat the ersatz Grimaldi pies after sampling the real thing!

Kenneth Buettner March 14, 2023 - 7:51 am

I well remember the Ferrybank restaurant. Their excellent food was served by a professional staff in a quietly elegant setting. During one visit I ordered the ribs. When my waiter set them before me I quietly just looked a them for a moment, unsure of how to proceed. Eating ribs is not a knife-and-fork proposition, but the setting seemed a bit too refined to do otherwise. Sensing my quandary, the waiter, quietly leaned towards me and said, “God made them with handles……go ahead.” I did just that and picked up my first one. I can still remember how good it tasted and the approving smile from my waiter.

John B. March 14, 2023 - 7:54 am

Google Maps street view shows the building wrapped in scaffolding- ‘Not sure if it’s being painted or “shored-up”. In any case, Grimaldi’s is open for business…

Al Golub March 14, 2023 - 11:44 pm

Grimaldi’s been battling their landlord for years now…..their rent is sky high !


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.