The spider in the web on a 57th street building

Owls, bats, elephants, rats, rams, horses, squirrels—there’s a Noah’s Ark of animals decorating New York’s prewar buildings and apartment houses.

But I’ve never seen anything quite as whimsical as the spider webs at 340 East 57th Street, between Second and First Avenues.

The windows and doors along the ground floor all have cast iron webs, and they’re a wonderful touch on a stretch of elegant and exclusive co-ops with kind of a staid and sedate feel.

Even better, one of webs on a utility door has a spider in it, although whoever designed it gave the predator just six legs, not eight.

But just like in real life, this spider is hiding and waiting, hanging out until prey gets stuck in his trap.

340 East 57th has another fun animal ornament higher up on the facade: sea dragons (or sea horses?). A pair of pheasants welcome tenants and guests on the lobby doors.

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7 Responses to “The spider in the web on a 57th street building”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    Wow. I lived on E 57ths street between Lexington and Third in 1969-1970. I walked to my parents-in-law’s apartment on Sutton Place South almost every day. I missed those spider webs! I can’t believe it! What I didn’t miss is an apartment on the South Side of 57th; Maybe between 1st and 2nd or 1st and Sutton? On one floor of the building; about 1/4 up or so……there are these enormous tall windows. All across the front of the building….with enormous tall curtains…..I have never forgotten them! Next time I go….I will go find the address! So many treasures in this city!

    Thank you for the spiders!
    Bats? Where??? I love bats!

  2. Lady G. Says:

    I’d personally hate that on my windows. Looks more like a Tick on web with the 6 legs. But I won’t say it isn’t elegant, and it adds a certain character to the building.

  3. Ricky Says:

    I knew there was a spider on 57th Street! I just had the wrong block.

  4. Bob Says:

    Rosario Candela was apparently the architect for this building. The seahorse reliefs were produced by the Atlantic Terra Cotta company, per an Atlantic Terra Cotta ad, May 1931 (“In the Modern Style – These Beautiful Entrances of Atlantic Terra Cotta”) and a company publication, June 1932.

    See http://www.preserve2.org/fotc/dbsite/recordview.php?phpRecord_ID=427

    and

    https://studiopotter.org/architectural-terra-cotta-1900-1990

  5. David H Lippman Says:

    Never saw this, but I’ve never been on this block…now I have to go over there.

    Won’t you come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?

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