Gilded figures on a West 57th Street roof

Who are these golden-robed ladies, and what are they doing playing the pipes and harp on top of this building?

First, the building: It’s the former Chickering Hall, built in 1924, once the showroom and concert hall of a piano manufacturer at 29 West 57th Street.

The 13-story structure fits right in with the rest of the street—until you look up at the roofline. These music-playing caryatids are the most majestic figures on the block.

Even more arresting are the giant reliefs of medals that disguise the water tower at the top of the building.

According to The City Review, they’re replicas of the Cross of the Legion of Honor that the piano company won in Paris in 1867.

Chickering Hall is long-gone; the building’s ground-floor tenant is now a Bolton’s.

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3 Responses to “Gilded figures on a West 57th Street roof”

  1. aspicco Says:

    Noticed this building yesterday… the guy at the front desk said it had been a Masonic Lodge but I had been suspicious… thank you!

  2. Juliet Bittencourt Says:

    Lots info on this building:

  3. Juliet Bittencourt Says:

    History of occupants from daytonianmanhattan:
    “The building was home to the American Piano Company.”
    “The building was leased by The Curtiss Flying Service, Inc. Suddenly the Chickering Hall became the Curtiss Building and the musical instrument industry was replaced with aviation. The Curtiss group took up four floors in the building—three through five and the thirteenth. Transcontinental Air Transport moved in as well, and the second floor was rented to WRNY radio station.”
    “The building earned a new name again in January 1938 when about half of it was leased to the Aeolian Company. For over a decade it would be known as Aeolian Hall”
    “The building was sold in 1946 to the Roman Catholic Archbishopric of New York to house the offices of Catholic Charities. The church resold it in 1950 to I. Jerome Riker for $1.3 million. The British automobile manufacturer, Austin Company, moved into the ground floor and the structure once again was renamed: Austin House. Riker resold it just two years later for $2.2, about double what he originally paid.”

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