Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Second Stories on 17th St., 5th Ave. to Irving Place (Open eyes, engage brain, part 2)

Yesterday's post was on 17th St. between 6th and 5th Avenues, looking at the second stories rather than ground floor. Today's post continues east from 5th Ave. to Irving Place.

Decorative palm leaves and a cartouche above a doorway.

A cartouche with a nicely lettered address, flanked by cornucopias.

This decorative stone carving reminds me a bit of Louis Sullivan's work: compare the doorway and ground-floor columns of the Bayard-Condict Building at Crosby and Bleecker, Sullivan's only NYC building.

More Beaux Arts decoration, including swags, egg-and-dart moldings, and even a couple fleur-de-lis.

One of the upper stories of the Barnes & Noble at Union Square North (a.k.a. 17th St.). It was originally the Century Building, constructed 1880-1881 (AIA Guide p. 202, W7).

Decorative element on the building at the northwest corner of Park and 17th St.: nice palmettes. Originally the Everett Building, 1908; the AIA Guide says it's "careful but bland" (p. 202, W8).

Arch from the huge ground-floor windows of the W New York Hotel, built in 1910-1911 for Germania Life Insurance. Could you doubt that a company housed in such a stalwart building would pay what it owed you? The AIA Guide (p. 203, W9) notes that after World War I the name "Germania" was a liability, so the board of directors chose a new name with the aim of using as many letters as possible from the old. On a recent walking tour, I heard that the Germania/Guardian had the NYC's first electric roof sign, which is why the W Hotel is allowed to have one today.

Tammany Hall, southeast corner of Park Ave. and 17th St. The building dates to 1929, when the fortunes of this New York political organization were about to decline sharply. The medallion on the pediment holds a red liberty cap.

Medallion from the north side of the Tammany Hall building. Tammany Hall was founded in 1788 as the Society of St. Tammany or the Columbian Order - hence the medallion of Columbus. The other medallion on the north facade is of "Tamanend," a legendary chief of the Delaware tribe. For more on Tammany's long and often corrupt existence, see the Encyclopedia of New York City pp. 1149-51.

Relief from the north side of the Tammany Hall building. Arrows and laurels? What's that mean?

Lovely decorative panels, nice arches at the top.

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