Posts Tagged ‘owls on school buildings’

The owls that adorn New York school buildings

December 4, 2017

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a progressive-minded New York embarked on a great mission to construct school buildings.

Under the direction of the superintendent of school buildings C.B.J. Snyder, hundreds of schools went up in neighborhoods all across the newly consolidated city.

Snyder thought of schools as civic monuments, and he designed them so they maximized sunlight and ventilation and inspired kids to learn.

I don’t know if these were part of Snyder’s plans, but so many of the schools built around this time feature owls on the facade—classical symbols of knowledge and wisdom, like this owl outside an elementary school in the East Village, the former PS 61.

Owls can be found adorning all kinds of city buildings, not just schools. Some owls even reside in city parks.

The owls that adorn New York City

July 7, 2010

It makes sense that many old city school buildings are decorated with carved owls; owls symbolize wisdom.

But owls—some spooky, some goofy—adorn all kinds of buildings and structures in New York City.

At right, one of many huge owls guarding a (NYU-owned, maybe?) building on Broadway and East Fourth Street.

This funny little owl on the tree limb at left is part of a gate at Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace.

I’ve always been partial to this terra cotta owl carved into the ornate Stuyvesant Polyclinic building on Second Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. He looks menacing.

At left, big peepers on a midtown Lexington Avenue building.