Faces and grotesques are all over the city’s buildings, smiling or frowning at passersby through the years. It’s rarer to see a full-length sculpted figure looking down from a tenement to the street below, which is why these two are so eye-catching.
The woman above, who adorns a tenement on a Lexington Avenue corner in the 80s, looks like Botticelli’s Venus flipped around—with the shell on her head instead of at her feet. Her hand clutches what looks like a weapon, not her hair.
Partly obscured by the support bracket of an old fire escape, this figure, on a West Fourth Street and 10th Street walkup, strikes roughly the same pose. I wonder what is at its feet.