The culmination of spooky season has arrived, and with it, we’re looking back at a time-honored Halloween tradition: the annual Green Point Savings Bank Hallowe’en art contest.
Over 60 years ago and for years to follow, students from local public schools would gather in said bank at 807 Manhattan Avenue to put their spookiest foot forward in pursuit of a hefty (for the time) cash prize of $15. The contest featured both a time limit and was restricted to the use of brushes and crayons, but that didn’t stop Greenpoint’s Rembrandts in the making from serving up creatively (witch)crafted depictions of wizardry, trick or treating, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, and countless other Halloween scenes.
Frequent local judges included Assemblyman, State Senator, and Supreme Court Justice Edward S. Lentol (yes, the father of former representative Joe Lentol), Greenpoint YMCA executive director Fred R. Berlind, and Greenpoint Weekly Star executive editor Richard Pawelek.
The Green Point Savings Bank branch settled into its recognizable 807 Manhattan Ave location in 1908 where it remained for nearly a century before being bought by Capital One, who operated a branch out of the same space until its closure in 2020. In other spooky news, towards the end of the bank’s operations, the annex — which used to serve as the location of the aforementioned art contest — was rebranded and redeveloped as luxury residences “The Helm” and the bank building was bought by real estate investor Jack Terzi for over $10 million.
While the Green Point Savings Bank and this particular art contest may be no longer, there’s still a cornucopia of festive frights to get into today around the neighborhood. Happy Halloween!