Posts Tagged ‘Sniffen Court’

Girl, roses, and butterfly in a Brooklyn garden

May 15, 2013

RosesofyesterdaystatueThere’s an enormous amount of beauty in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, opened in 1910.

But the bronze statue of a girl holding roses in her right hand and a butterfly sundial in her left is an especially captivating sight.

Called “Roses of Yesterday” and created in 1923 by Harriet W. Frishmuth, the five-foot statue fittingly welcomes visitors into the rose garden pavilion.

Frishmuth was a Philadelphia native who came to New York to create art. She had a studio on Sniffen Court, the loveliest alley in Murray Hill.


Ghosts of 19th century New York horses

February 9, 2010

Reminders of the city’s horse-powered past are all over the place. Sometimes a horse head is mounted on the gate of a mews, a tribute to the creature who made his home there.

This one above is at the entrance to Sniffen Court—the pretty, circa-1860s mews-turned-private homes on 36th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue. 

Or the head of an equine sticks out of the facade of an old stable. That’s where this Charles Street beauty keeps watch. Below the head is a faded sign featuring the name of the stable owner, H. Thalman.

Plenty of stable signage can still be found on old buildings, such as this Greenwich Street garage.

What would happen if a resident of Strivers’ Row in Central Harlem (above) decided to ride, not walk, his horse on the path behind the brownstone houses there? 

Strange Days in Sniffen Court

January 7, 2010

Tucked away on quiet 36th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue lies Sniffen Court—one of the city’s sweetest private alleys. Ten two-story former carriage houses, built in the 1860s, now serve as private residences (one houses a theater) that collectively look like a toy village.

Unlike other alleys, like Patchin Place in the West Village, a locked gate prevents curious passersby from strolling in and time-traveling back to Civil War–era New York City. 

But it didn’t prevent The Doors from shooting the Strange Days album cover there in 1967. Inspired by the 1954 Fellini film La Strada, the photographer recruited carnival performers and average joes (reportedly one was a cabbie paid $5 for his time) to pose for the iconic photo.

Here’s the cover shot. Compare it to Sniffen Court today; this landmarked mews has barely changed in 30 years.

The back cover photo shows the left side of Sniffen Court. The white horse and rider reliefs on each side of the back wall still exist: