The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place

In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster with snakes in her hair; looking at her could cause a viewer’s face to turn to stone.

On contemporary Sutton Place near 58th Street, there’s another Medusa.

Snakes live in her hair, but rather than turning viewers into stone, she herself is stone—a keystone that is. She frames the doorway of a beautiful five-story, French chateau–inspired townhouse below a lovely wrought-iron balcony.

The house has a long backstory. It was the first in a line of drab, out-of-style brownstones to be transformed by literary and decorating power couple Elizabeth Marbury and Elsie de Wolfe in 1920 into a luxury showpiece.

Soon after, the East Side street attracted New York’s most elite to the newly developed Sutton Place, according to Daytonian in Manhattan.

Since then, it’s had a number of notable residents, and in 2017 was listed for sale at $8.5 million. (See the amazing interior photos.)

But who put Medusa there?

She wasn’t guarding the (much less ornate) doorway in the 1940 tax photo I found taken by the city, above.

But she appears to be in another tax photo taken sometime in the 1980s.

That photo also shows the townhouse looking much like it does today. Though the quality of the image is too poor to be sure (at left).

At some point between the 1940s and 1980s, an owner decided a scary Medusa head would be a nice addition to the facade.

[Third and fourth photos: NYC Department of Records & Information Services]

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4 Responses to “The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place”

  1. The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place | News for New Yorkers Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place […]

  2. The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate The striking doorway Medusa on Sutton Place […]

  3. Kenny Says:

    The irony of Medusa herself being turned into stone is not lost on our perceptive host.

  4. David H Lippman Says:

    Well, at least if you look at this one, you don’t get turned to stone….

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