5. There is a Trader Joe’s in an old bank building
The Trader Joe’s at Court Street and Atlantic Avenue, which often has very long lines, is located in the historic South Brooklyn Savings Institution building. The Florentine Renaissance building was constructed in 1922 by McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin, who designed the New York Telephone Building and a number of buildings for the Chicago World’s Fair. A plaque on the building states, “Near this place during the Revolutionary War stood the Ponkiesberg Fortification, from which Gen. George Washington is said to have observed the fighting at Gowanus during the battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776.”
The bank operated in the building until 1975, when it changed its name to the Independence Savings Bank. The building’s exterior was limestone and featured 100 eagles on its cornice. The entire main floor of the building was originally the banking room. After Sovereign Bank purchased the Independence Savings Bank, Trader Joe’s moved into the property in 2008, leaving the exterior as it was.