Posts Tagged ‘Cross of the Legion of Honor’

Gilded figures on a West 57th Street roof

July 21, 2010

Who are these golden-robed ladies, and what are they doing playing the pipes and harp on top of this building?

First, the building: It’s the former Chickering Hall, built in 1924, once the showroom and concert hall of a piano manufacturer at 29 West 57th Street.

The 13-story structure fits right in with the rest of the street—until you look up at the roofline. These music-playing caryatids are the most majestic figures on the block.

Even more arresting are the giant reliefs of medals that disguise the water tower at the top of the building.

According to The City Review, they’re replicas of the Cross of the Legion of Honor that the piano company won in Paris in 1867.

Chickering Hall is long-gone; the building’s ground-floor tenant is now a Bolton’s.