357 Bowery | Block : 459 | Lot #7
Description & Building Alterations
A designated New York City Landmark since 2010, the Germania Fire Insurance Company Building stands as an important reminder of the immigrant culture that reshaped the East Village in the second half of the 19th Century. The building’s architect, Carl Pfeiffer, arrived from Germany as part of the influx of immigrants that gave the neighborhood its moniker of Kleindeutschland. Many of these immigrants established themselves in the East Village through a variety of businesses and cultural institutions. The Germania Fire Insurance Company Building recalls the height of Kleindeutschland by the end of the 19th century, when over 50,000 German immigrants lived and worked in the neighborhood.
Completed in 1870, this four-story building with a mansard roof is a well-preserved example of the Second Empire style. This style, a popular choice for homes and commercial structures at the time, was representative of the economic prosperity of the period and viewed as more progressive than the Greek and Gothic Revival styles. The building’s largely intact façade, still bearing a faded advertisement, features circular-headed windows and embellished brickwork. Like Pfeiffer’s other buildings, such as the landmarked Metropolitan Savings Bank and Hamilton Park Cottage, the Germania Fire Insurance Company Building’s symmetry and dignified proportions set it apart from its neighbors.
Block : 459 / Lot : 007 / Building Date : 1870 / Original Owner : Samuel Stilwell Doughty / Original Use : Commercial / Original Architect : Carl Pfeiffer