For years, the northwest corner of Bowery and Spring Street has been a mysterious home to urban legends, and a symbol of a seemingly lost NYC. Among the throng of glitzy retail stores, sterile gallery exteriors, and pricey restaurants, the daunting six-story space has existed in its own detached world, where grit and graffiti are the norm. The heavily gated space, otherwise known as the former Germania Bank building, has been closed to the public since it was purchased as a family home by photographer Jay Maisel for $102,000 in 1966.
For years, curious New Yorkers have gazed up at its locked iron gates, some even breaking in, hoping to get a peek at what lies inside. Yesterday, I got to tag along with OC co-founder Humberto Leon, Spike Jonze, and Bennett Miller to take a look inside the building and see if it matched the fantasy in our imaginations.