Posts Tagged ‘Medieval architecture NYC’

An East Side apartment house’s Medieval touches

January 6, 2020

If the Cloisters is your kind of art museum, then the eight-story building at 40 East 62nd Street is probably your kind of apartment house.

Built in 1911—right about when this block between Park and Madison Avenues was transitioning from a stretch of single-family homes and horse stables—it takes its cues from a Medieval castle.

“Designed by Albert J. Bodker, it is a startling work, a Medieval-style tapestry of brick and glazed terra cotta, with an ebulliently ornamental parapet and vertical bays of windows to light the parlors,” wrote Christopher Gray in a 2006 New York Times piece.

Fierce griffins, foliage, a pointed-arch entrance, battlements, and shields make the building seem like it belongs in Middle Ages, according to the Upper East Side Historic District Designation Report from 1981.

The interior of the building I can’t speak to. But the apartments were meant for the wealthy, as this 1915 ad shows.

Seven rooms, three bathrooms, extra servants rooms, lots of light—nice, right?

Amenities like these on an elegant block would appeal to New York’s elite—like Henry Hardenburgh, architect behind the Dakota and the Plaza, who made his home here, according to the AIA Guide to New York City.

[Ad: New York Times, September 1915]

The garogyles hanging out over 181st Street

April 16, 2012

The apartment building they’re carved into doesn’t appear to be anything special.

And thanks to what looks like decades of dirt and grime, these gargoyles are easy to miss.

But if you happen to be on 181st Street between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue, look up and check out these goofy, expressive faces and figures.

They decorate two sides of the six-story residence, which looks like it dates to the 1930s.

Could they be inspired by the Cloisters, not too far away, with its treasure of Medieval gargoyles from Europe?