The Federal Reserve system is a decentralized banking structure that was organized in 1913 to safeguard the nation's money. This facility is one of 12 branches that were built to help regulate the American currency and stabilize the economy. New York's branch of the Federal Reserve Bank was designed as a massive, fortress-like building that has thick masonry walls of Indiana limestone and Ohio sandstone and a crenellated tower at one corner. The building's architecture takes cues from Renaissance palaces such as the Florentine Palazzo Strozzi to impart a symbolic sense of dignity and security. The heavily rusticated base of the building creates a solid wall that is unornamented except for iron grilles and lanterns designed by the artist Samuel Yellin which adds to the effect of impenetrability. Interior vaults with doors that weigh as much as 90 tons are located five levels below the street to provide adequate protection for the money stored inside.


Federal Reserve Bank of New York
33 Liberty Street, York and Sawyer (ironwork by Samuel Yellin) (1935)