The faces and figures lurking above New York

The huge variety of nymphs, grotesques, demons, gargoyles, and other mysterious creatures carved into the facades of New York buildings is pretty astounding.

At left is a creeper perched inside the doorway of the Gotham Comedy Club on West 23rd Street.

And then on the right is another scary dude face, on the Orpheum Theatre on Second Avenue in the East Village.

Of course, they’re not all designed to scare you. This terra cotta female profile (and musical instruments) brightens up a church on West 57th Street.

And at the entrance of an East Village tenenent, this lovely lady greets you.

My favorites are the funny or goofy ones. These two decorate the front of a City University of New York building in the West 130s.

One is impish and silly, while the other seems to be warning students not to end up like him, breaking his back while earning a living doing hard labor.

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11 Responses to “The faces and figures lurking above New York”

  1. Tweets that mention The faces and figures lurking above New York « Ephemeral New York -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Clark. William Clark said: The faces and figures lurking above New York http://is.gd/kCkvg [...]

  2. A Coolness Debate Brought to You by the Fonz - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] get the feeling those gargoyles are watching you? [Ephemeral New [...]

  3. alan tanksley Says:

    I would like to be on your email list…thanks.
    Alan

  4. Bookpod Says:

    I cannot get over how your eye is able to spot these gargoyles.

  5. jimmyboi2 Says:

    OH oh OH !! Very nice! When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to make myself “invisible” and ride elevators and climb dusty stairways so I could see what was going on with “upstairs New York.” Zigurrats, temples, statues, obelisks, gardens… amazing and unseen from the sidewalks. Great site !!

  6. Carol King Says:

    I love all these images! I wish they still built buildings with these fabulous creatures.

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    I know, me too. They’re little enchanting surprises.

  8. Quid plura? | "So I'll sing you a new song..." Says:

    [...] New York sights grotesques in Manhattan and shows you the long-shuttered City Hall [...]

  9. o novo blog do rick » Onde eles estão ? Says:

    [...] Leio num blog que a cidade de Nova York é um lugar cheio de gárgulas ,múmias, estátuas grotescas, ninfas, demônios e demais figuras fantasmagóricas ( http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/the-faces-and-figures-lurking-above-you/ ). [...]

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