The “Fish House” is the Bronx’s Art Deco jewel

It looks like it belongs in Miami Beach, not the Bronx.

But what’s been dubbed the “Fish House” or the “Fish Building” for the colorful aquatic-themed mural on the facade is on the Grand Concourse, not far from Yankee Stadium.

It’s one of dozens of Art Deco and Art Moderne apartment residences built on the Bronx’s most famous thoroughfare in the 1930s.

Why a fish facade in the Bronx? It’s unclear why architects Horace Ginsburn and Marvin Fine had the glittering mural made when they designed the building in 1937—or if it wasn’t their doing, who did have it installed.

The Grand Concourse—originally the Grand Boulevard and Concourse—supposedly started out as New York’s answer to the Champs Elysees, a majestic road of wide sidewalks, rows of trees, and contemporary architecture.

By the 1930s, it may have been clear that the Champs Elysees comparison wasn’t panning out, so perhaps the designers decided to have a little fun.

In any case, the inspiration for the fish mural is just one of the many mysteries behind New York City’s most iconic buildings. It’s a delightful bit of tropical undersea life with iridescent angel fish, amoebas, and sea anemone in the middle of an often overcast, grimy city.

The interior lobby is an explosion of Art Deco magnificence as well.

[Top photo: New York Times; fourth photo: MCNY 2014.3.2.1006]

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2 Responses to “The “Fish House” is the Bronx’s Art Deco jewel”

  1. Ty Says:

    I live not far from the Concourse and ride over there and walk my bike to marvel at the art deco and moderne details.

    My parents met on the Concourse, 1425, they lived across the hall from each other after the war. Mother was married to a merchant marine away at sea and let’s say was pining for a man.
    Father was a handsome staff sergeant from New England so they drove up to Van Cortlandt park to take in the sights.

    To live on the Concourse was a thing. My somewhat pompous grandma moved her family there and let everybody know her address. Repeatedly. The old man called it the Grandiose Concourse.

  2. David H Lippman Says:

    Wonderful building.

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