The pretty peacocks holding court in the Garment District

There’s a lot of leftover loveliness in the Garment District—the wide swatch of Midtown Manhattan west of Fifth Avenue between roughly 41st and 28th Streets.

In the early 1900s, the showrooms and factories here made the vast majority of women’s clothes in the United States. These days, the remaining garment-related producers share dingy side streets with ghostly faded ads and signage from long-departed companies.

But things are still looking bright at the Fashion Tower, at 135 West 36th Street. High above the freight entrance of this circa-1922, 17-story Emery Roth–designed building, two terra cotta painted peacocks sitting in the swirly leaves of a tree greet passersby.

Why peacocks? With their beautiful colors and plumage, these gorgeous birds are symbols of fashion—as well as power, strength, and confidence.

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11 Responses to “The pretty peacocks holding court in the Garment District”

  1. Robyn Roth-Moise Says:

    Emery is spelled incorrectly. I learned that when the building was recently restored, these are replicas.

  2. andrewalpern Says:

    Esther . . .

    A splendid find. Perhaps in fact those peacocks are the ones that were recently exiled from the grounds of the St. John the Divine. But please . . . the architect is Emery Roth, with an “e” not an “o.”

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Ugh, apologies for misspelling the name of the man who designed the building I currently live in! I should have caught that, it’s fixed.

  3. Robert Parker Says:

    These peacocks are wonderful, very evocative of the ’20’s. And the stone carvings and veneer are pretty darn nice, too.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I agree. I’d have thought such splendid stone carvings would be in a residence, but alas, they’re in a commercial building.

  4. Charles Says:

    from 2010 fwiw

  5. velovixen Says:

    What could be a better symbol of fashion than a peacock?

    Although the peacocks and the door frame may not be, technically, Art Deco, they are in spirit: The peacocks’ plumage remind me of the kinds of shapes and colors you might find in an Art Deco structure–or a Guimard Metro station entrance in Paris.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      That’s a great observation, VV. I wasn’t thinking of them as Art Deco—just playful symbols of style and fashion. But the carvings are obviously inspired by the natural world.

  6. Steve Gorka Says:

    Wide swatch, I get it

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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