When you spend as much time looking at buildings as I do, it takes something out of the ordinary to stand out. In this case, I was on Sutphin Boulevard in Queens, on its northernmost leg. That’s the part of Sutphin that most people who have heard of it know: between its northern end at Hillside Avenue (where the F train is) and the huge LIRR station at Archer Avenue (where the E train is). That six-block piece of a long street has the LIRR station and therefore the connection to the JFK monorail, two courthouses, and Jamaica Avenue, anther major cross street. Architecturally, it’s the courthouses that grab your attention, but I found myself wondering about the bank with that motto carved in stone.
It’s not much of a mystery: the building has always been a bank, and was built in 1939 by the Jamaica Savings Bank, formerly a big local institution in Queens. The current bank in the building is Capital One, the owner, via two corporate mergers, of the old Jamaica bank business. It’s a good building, worthy of its landmark designation. It’s unfortunate that Capital One couldn’t find a way to combine their need for modern signage with some kind of respect for the old facade. I also hope that they will someday find a budget for some limestone maintenance. This is not the prettiest street, and it’s really too bad that one of the better buildings there has seen better days.