Posts Tagged ‘New York in the 20th century’

Sad and silly carvings on a Madison Avenue facade

August 4, 2010

The AIA Guide to New York City describes 285 Madison Avenue, an office building at the corner of 40th Street built in 1926, as “an unremarkable block of brick.”

Well, except for the funny little stone figures that surround the street-level store windows. 

Dozens of them adorn the facade, such as a blind man and a boy who looks like he’s about to spit something out of his mouth.

There’s also a man holding an instrument of some kind, and a woman gazing into a mirror.

So who are they? The best answer I could find is in a 1970 New York Times article on city buildings adorned with stone ornamental carvings:

“A building for a tabloid newspaper constructed in 1925 at 285 Madison Avenue showed figures of people in the news—a boy with a beanshooter, a fisherman, a man with a bandaged face holding his aching tooth, ballplayers, prizefighters, and a sad girl with a broken doll.” 

Nighttime buying and selling on Allen Street

July 29, 2010

A dress shop, furniture and rugs for sale on the sidewalk, a pretzel vendor—there’s a lot happening on bustling Allen Street in George Luks’ 1905 painting of a Lower East Side street.