The artist and scholar gargoyles on 121st Street

Copper bay windows, grand arches, juliet balconies and a sloping roof: As university housing goes, the 8-story Bancroft Apartments are pretty fanciful.

Preeminent architect Emery Roth designed the building, which opened at 509 West 121st Street in 1910.

By 1920, it had been acquired by Columbia University’s Teachers College, just a block away in the city’s new Acropolis neighborhood, so named for the many schools in the area.

Considering that what’s now called Bancroft Hall ended up housing educators, it makes sense that the gargoyles decorating the facade are nods toward higher learning.

Behold the building’s wonderful painter and scholar (a writer perhaps, pointing to letters in a book?). I don’t think these characters represent any specific people but instead symbolize creativity, education, and imagination.

Walter Grutchfield has more on the Bancroft Apartments, including an amazing shot of an inscription on the upper wall. For more Morningside Heights gargoyles, check out these goofy gargoyle examples.

[Top photo: Columbia University]

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6 Responses to “The artist and scholar gargoyles on 121st Street”

  1. Shayne Davidson Says:

    Those gargoyles are amazing!

  2. frank dicapua Says:

    how do I pass this wonderful website to others , former manhattanite residing on Long Is. NY

  3. David H Lippman Says:

    Fantastic gargoyles.

  4. The artist and scholar gargoyles on 121st Street — Ephemeral New York – Naked Cities Journal Says:

    […] via The artist and scholar gargoyles on 121st Street — Ephemeral New York […]

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