Mystery creatures guard a St. Marks Place door

Are these statues the faded remains of lions? Dogs? Or mythological creatures, like griffins?

Stmarkscreatures

Stmarkscreaturecloseup

At 73 St. Marks Place between Second and First Avenues stand these crumbled visages of some aggressive animal, now weathered and faceless.

They’re embracing shields—a fierce touch.

Imagine the foreboding welcome they offered visitors who approached this basement doorway on St. Marks, more than a century ago the main drag of Kleindeutschland.

This was the city’s former Little Germany neighborhood until the early 1900s, resplendent with beer gardens, theaters, libraries, churches.

And shooting clubs—like this one across the street, its emblem still on the facade.

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7 Responses to “Mystery creatures guard a St. Marks Place door”

  1. penelopebianchi Says:

    Do you think they might sell them?

    Just asking!! These cannot stay out much longer and survive !!

    I have some lovely sphinxes!!

    You can see them,…www.mccormickinteriors.com

    Take a peek !!!

    Penelope

  2. RD Wolff Says:

    I am certain these are not original by any means, these were likely just cheap concrete commercially sold statues someone placed there at some point, maybe in the 1970s or something like that, since then they have begun falling apart and had some vandalism too probably.
    These were the typical seated lions holding a shield sold by dozens of firms for decades, theres similar ones on Ebay all the time, some are mass produced from China made of stone.

  3. penelopebianchi Says:

    RD is right! However, you were very bright to have found them! They could have been real treasures! Keep peeking around! (aren’t you glad I didn’t say “peaking”? every single blog says “Peaking” when they mean “peeking”! Good grief! Who was their English teacher???!!??!

  4. Liza Says:

    They were lions, and have been there a LOOONG time. They were chipping even when I was a little girl regularly passing them in the 60s. I’d always pet them as I passed them; I still do pat the remnants of their heads as I walk by them. Somewhere I have a photo of them in the early 80s, not as bad as they are now, but definitely further along on their decay than they were when I was little. I’m glad they’re still there, in whatever form, as a reminder to those of us who remember them from earlier days.

  5. Les Says:

    Google “Lion of St. Mark”. Wikipedia has an interesting history of the symbol.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Yes, thanks!

  7. History in the making 2/18: Pennsylvania Station edition - The Bowery Boys Says:

    […] – East Village monsters: What are those things guarding this home on St. Marks Place? [Ephemeral New York] […]

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