1. Chase Manhattan Bank – 450 Avenue P, Brooklyn
The events of August 22, 1972 at a Brooklyn branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank were glamorized in the 1975 Al Pacino drama Dog Day Afternoon, but the real version is just as thrilling. Just before the bank closed that afternoon, John Wojtowicz and Sal Naturale entered with a shotgun, handgun and rifle, planning to lock the employees in the vault and escape with the money. Wojtowicz reportedly wanted the money to help his gay lover Ernest get a sex change operation.
NYPD and FBI agents rushed to the scene and the situation quickly escalated into a hostage showdown. Seven people were held at gunpoint inside the bank. In the next fourteen hours before the police regained control, Wojtowicz made a series of demands, as recounted by Arthur Bell to the Village Voice: he wanted the police to bring Ernest inside the bank, a delivery of hamburgers and Cokes and transport to JFK with a plane waiting for his escape. The police transported him to JFK but managed to immobilize Wojtowicz and kill Naturale. Wojtowicz was jailed for 14 years before dying of cancer in 2006, and Ernest, who became Elizabeth after a sex change, died of AIDS in 1987.
The site of the bank later became a medical center, but after the building was demolished and the lot was abandoned, it’s now under construction as a new apartment building.
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