The musical motifs on a 16th Street building

Was the lovely 6-story building at 108 East 16th Street, built in 1920, headquarters for a music company of some kind?

Hints abound. First, the facade is decorated with several of horn and tambourine carvings.

The building also features these symbols, which look like a harp or the neck of a guitar.

Plus, nearby Union Square in the late 19th century was the city’s music and theater district. Stores for pianos and other instruments cropped up here at the time; Steinway had a showroom there.

Whether it housed a music business or not, the original company started with an S—the letter is carved into two rooftop turrets.

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2 Responses to “The musical motifs on a 16th Street building”

  1. Josie Says:

    It’s got to be G. SCHIRMER, music publisher.

    New York Times, August 21, 1909
    IN THE REAL ESTATE FIELD
    Deal on 16th Street, Near Union Square . . .
    “Denzer Brothers have sold for Rudolph and Greace Schirmer to George Leerburger and Zade Metzler the six-story store and loft building, on plot 33 by 103, at 108 East Sixteenth Street, just East of Union Square. The property is diagonally opposite the new Bergfeldt Building, and a few feet West of the twelve-story structure now being erected by the Kip’s Bay Realty Company. It has been held at $130,000. ”

    G. Schirmer, still publishing music with executive HQ on Park Avenue South in NYC and a website, once had other buildings and stores in the area, one on Union Square in 1897 (but unadorned). Carl Fischer, another music publisher, had a building (still standing) on Cooper Square, across from the old Cooper Union building.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    I combed that archive all evening–I don’t know how I missed this. Thank you Josie!

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