6 stories
·
0 followers

Hogwarts In Manhattan: The 1,000 Gargoyles & Grotesques of City College

7 Comments and 14 Shares

Last week, I took a trip up to 138th Street and Amsterdam to scout a location I’ve been meaning to visit for the longest time: the City College of New York.

002

City College is one of those great places in the city where you step through the gates…

003

…and suddenly feel like you’ve been transported far, far from Manhattan.

006

I was walking around the north quadrangle, which consists of the original four campus buildings built in 1906…

005

…and as I was heading into Harris Hall, I suddenly got the strangest feeling that I was being watched. I turned to my right…

101

…and this guy was sticking his tongue out at me!

101a

And he wasn’t alone. Above me, a frowning professor-type was beckoning me in…

102

…while on my left, I was being laughed at:

104

There were even more faces buried in the arch…

105

…all watching with mocking stares.

106

Finally, two owl statues were positioned on either side of the door.

107

In total, that’s 9 bits of statuary crammed around a single entrance. Amazed, I stepped back and looked up…

130

…and realized I was being watched…

131

…from every direction I turned.

132

City College has over 1,000 (yes, 1,000!) grotesques and gargoyles covering its buildings, and each has such individual character that it’s hard to kick the feeling they’re on the verge of coming to life Hogwarts-style to mock you as you walk around the campus.

I spent about an hour or so trying to find as many of the bizarre and wonderful creatures as I could – here are some of my favorites.

152

When it comes to the traditional demon-style grotesques and gargoyles, City College has some great examples. Several winged creatures are perched around the top of the tower at Compton Hall…

153

…each a completely different style from the next.

154

The most haunting, in my opinion, is the gargoyle on the west-side, which features a human head disturbingly attached to an eagle-like body, its mouth agape in a pained screech:

155

Another favorite demon can be found perched on the corner of Harris Hall…

160 - HH01

…a horned figure holding a book with the initials FD written inside. I’d love to know who or what this is in reference to (thought for a minute the F might be for Faust, but as far as I know, Faust never had a surname beginning with D).

161 - HH

Another demon can be found above the clock on Harris Hall…

162

…a strange robed figure leaning in an ear to hear the students below:

163

A shield-holding demon:

165

But there are more than just demons at City College. In fact, much the statuary follows a particular theme. For example, look closely…

166

…and you’ll see a laborer drilling into the side of the building:

167

Another literally screws into the corner of the building:

171

This guy is yanking out a stray nail with a hammer:

172

Another is hammering on an anvil:

173

Still another has at it with a sledge-hammer.

168

Working the bellows (thanks, Martin & Violetsrose!):

Not sure what this one is up to:

175

Whereas these literally seem to be taking part in the construction (or deconstruction?) of the building, still another group of grotesques are meant to represent the various disciplines and arts at the university.

180

It starts simple, with a basic professorial-type reading a book:

181

I love this glasses-clad professor leering down at students entering the building:

182

A mathematician. If you notice some of the grotesques have a decidedly more human appearance than the typical caricatures, there’s a good chance they were based on members of the faculty.

174

Then we hit the music department…

183

…and you have nearly a full band…

184

…playing above you:

184a

My favorite is the drummer:

184b

Then on to the sciences: love this guy examining a butterfly with a magnifying glass:

185

A Dumbledore-like chemist mixes a potion:

185a

And of course, painting, represented by quite possibly the angriest-looking artist in New York:

186

I’m guessing that this figure contemplating an hourglass represents philosophy:

188

Another figure, clearly based on a real person (how great would it be to be forever immortalized as a grotesque?):

189

Still more fascinating examples can be found surrounding the entrances to buildings. Above the door to Baskeville…

139

…is a professor holding out what appears to be a test in geometry:

140

A key-holder…

136

…and beside him, another life-like representation:

137

There’s something so wonderful about mixing such staid architecture with such whimsical figures. This guy may be in charge of holding a formal shield, for example, but he could care less about it:

144

Perhaps he’s having a conversation with his neighbor?

143

In fact, no one’s all that happy at this entrance:

145

A few final ones. In the corner of Wingate Hall…

200 - HH

….a guy flips his feet over his head while precariously holding on:

201

Nearby, an impish-looking fellow holds onto a ring:

202

And beside him, an older-looking grotesque holds the seal of the college:

203

In fact, quite a lot of the figures are being acrobatic on Wingate, which makes sense since it used to be the original gym (thanks, EG!): Wingate:

211

As you head into the main entrance at Harris…

220

…this guy is screaming at you:

222

If the grotesques look to be in immaculate shape, it’s thanks to a restoration program that began in 1986. At the time, many of the terra cotta figures had fallen into total disrepair (some had even smashed after falling from their perches).

223

Each figure was restored to its original condition, recast by hand, and returned to its place, at the time considered to be the largest terra cotta preservation effort in the country. You can see a bit of the process in this Facebook post – the picture below shows just how badly this particular figure had deteriorated (the white areas are the restored pieces that had broken off):

restore

The replacements should weather the elements much longer than their predecessors.

240

Annoyed:

243

Astounded:

244

These pictures show a mere 50 or 60 of the 1,000 grotesques and gargoyles covering the north quad at City College – and I didn’t even get into the cathedral-like Shephard Hall.

250

The campus is open to the public, and is absolutely worth a trip to admire these amazing works of art. If Hogwarts had a satellite campus in New York City, I’m pretty sure City College would be it.

-SCOUT

Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2598 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
6 public comments
zwol
2599 days ago
reply
It says something about the density of STUFF in Manhattan that I used to live 30 blocks south of this and had *no idea*.
Pittsburgh, PA
shamgar_bn
2600 days ago
reply
How do I go back in time and attend college here?
Wake Forest, North Carolina
steingart
2600 days ago
reply
Fantastic.
Princeton, NJ
DerBonk
2600 days ago
reply
Too bad he didn't show the actual main building ;) The NAC may not be as beautiful, but just as interesting, having been designed by prison architects (at least I was told that it was).
Germany
grammargirl
2600 days ago
reply
OK, I finally followed this blog. It's so good!
Brooklyn, NY
satadru
2601 days ago
reply
CCNY as Hogwarts. Awesome.
New York, NY
deezil
2600 days ago
Maybe Faust and Dante?

The Apartment Building In the Shadow of Yankee Stadium

3 Comments and 4 Shares

For the past five months, I’ve been working on a movie shooting exclusively in the Bronx, and almost every day, I’ve driven up Jerome Avenue, passing Gate 2 of Yankee Stadium on the right…

01

…and this gorgeous art deco building on the left, located at 1005 Jerome Avenue:

02

Built in 1931, the mammoth 8-story, six-bay-wide Park Plaza Apartments building is dripping with all sorts of great detail, but I could never really make out much from my car. On the last day of filming, I finally pulled over to take a closer look.

03

The first thing that caught my eye were the beautiful terracotta murals covering the building:

05

The motifs alternate between a brilliant sun rising behind an apartment building…

06

…and this whimsical fountain, surrounded on both sides by swans:

07

Here are some close-ups. The apartment pictured resembles the actual building in a lot of ways, but seems more classical in design – almost like it’s the non-art-deco version of 1005 Jerome Ave:

06a

But how beautiful is this fountain? I can only imagine how vibrant the colors were back in the 1930s:

07a

The terracotta murals repeat across the front of the building…

08

…wrapping around to the inner wings and abutting the arched balconies:

08a

Every once in a while, one additional and particularly interesting piece is inserted into the pattern…

09

…this great scene of a man making an offering of a skyscraper at an altar topped by the Parthenon – perhaps an architect looking for symbolic approval from the classics of old?

10

Also lining the building are dozens of fantastic art deco animal sculptures:

12

Among my favorites are the rows of birds…

13

…which are each wonderfully haunting in their own jagged way:

14

Here’s the third:

15

More birds can be found over the main entrance way:

16

My favorite is this owl:

17

As you move along, even more animals can be found mounted to the brick.

20

Here, we have two wolves…

21

…flanking a totally awesome deco frog:

22

A little further on, the wolves repeat themselves…

23

…but this time, the frog has been replaced by a squirrel:

25

There are plenty more geometric terracotta designs to be found in just about every corner of the building…

26

Also of note are the insane gate designs at the ground level – note the three totally different patterns found in the cast-iron fencing:

28

Just inside the gates, you find an ascending pyramid motif…

29

Here’s a close-up – definitely can’t help but feel an Egyptian influence:

30

You would think the building designers would just repeat the gates for simplicity, but nope – the next one down features a totally different swirling pattern:

31

The inner fence design:

32

Even the little gate to the back alley has a little bit of design work…

33

…including these flattened pyramids:

34

The entrance is surrounded by frosted glass blocks…

35

…and is flanked on either sides by columns surrounding a terracotta goat:

36

Close-up:

37

Six-sided lanterns abut either side:

38

I ducked into the lobby, which features a sunburst pattern on the ground…

50

…and this heavenly alcove in the ceiling:

51

But my favorite was the pair of light-framed doors:

52

I mean, come on – how great would it be to pass through this doorway on your way home each day?

53

A few more bits and pieces can be found…

54

The mirrors were once decorated with these great jungle-like scenes (sadly, most seem to have faded).

55

Above, the elevator, you’re being watched:

56

Finally, a couple of these guys round it all off.

57

According to the 1981 NYC Landmarks report, “designer Marvin Fine knew of and consciously synthesized the major elements of the new modernistic skyscraper style being developed in Manhattan by Raymond Hood and William Van Alen and adapted them to the lowrise apartment houses of New York’s residential neighborhoods.”

goingup

Named an Historic Landmark in 1981, 1005 Jerome Avenue recently switched hands and things are looking up for the building as renovations begin.

60

Next time you take a trip up to see the Bronx Bombers, it’s worth a quick visit to the other cathedral on Jerome, located just across the street.

-SCOUT

Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2634 days ago
reply
Excelent build!
Share this story
Delete
2 public comments
satadru
2635 days ago
reply
wow
New York, NY
deezil
2635 days ago
reply
This is beautiful
Louisville, Kentucky

The crystalline wall

1 Comment and 2 Shares

A shy Yves Saint Laurent is pushed onstage to be acclaimed for his Spring-Summer collection, Paris, January 1986. Photo by Abbas/MagnumIf I had to describe being shy, I’d say it was like coming late to a party when everyone else is about three glasses in. All human interaction, if it is to develop from small talk into meaningful conversation, draws on shared knowledge and tacit understandings. But if you’re shy, it feels like you just [...]

The post The crystalline wall appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2661 days ago
reply
exactly!
Share this story
Delete

Yaz Bukey – designer at home and at her studio in Paris

1 Comment

Yaz Bukey - Designer

At home and at her studio in Paris




Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2680 days ago
reply
excelent places!
Share this story
Delete

Where New York City Begins

3 Comments and 6 Shares

One of my favorite ways to drive into New York is via Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.

01

As you head south from Yonkers, both sides of the road are overgrown with beautiful green foliage. To the west is Van Cordlant Park…

02

…to the east, Woodlawn Cemetery.

03

It’s so pretty, you might almost start to wonder if you’ve taken a wrong turn. I mean, The Bronx isn’t supposed to look like this…right?

04

And yet, the road continues on, with lush trees completely surrounding you.

05

One of my favorite bits along the drive is this one tree, whose branches create a canopy extending more than halfway over the street:

06

Just as you think it’s not going to end, something appears in the distance…

07

And then, as Jerome Avenue starts to curve, you notice something up ahead…

07

…the first signs of civilization…

08

An elevated train station comes into view…

09

And then, as abruptly as could be

possible…

08

09

…New

possible, New York City begins.

10

I’ve never come across as defined an entrance to a city as Jerome Avenue (besides shorelines, of course). Most of the time, traveling from a city into the next town over is more like a gradual dissolve. The buildings get shorter, the roads thinner. Here, it’s like a doorway into New York.

15

As you pass underneath the station,

After the jungles of Jerome Ave, passing underneath this train station is almost like going through a portal into another dimension.

11

Immediately, all the hallmarks of New York

immediately start to appear…

11

Delis,

suddenly appear: delis, pizza places, run down shops, and of course, the elevated tracks…

12

Before long, auto repair shops start and brick office buildings begin springing up…

13

…and within seconds, you’re in as archetypal a block as could be found in any of the five boroughs.

14

As I head south,

I’ve never come across as defined an entrance to a city as Jerome Avenue (besides shorelines, of course). Most of the time, traveling from a city into the next town over is more like a gradual dissolve. The buildings get shorter, the roads thinner. Here, it’s like a doorway into New York.

15

As I pass through, I always find myself glancing over my shoulder at the lush, green world I’m leaving behind.

16

Then, I continue on Then I head into the city.

-SCOUT

Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2682 days ago
reply
excelent tour in the US
Share this story
Delete
2 public comments
ashtonbt1
2684 days ago
reply
This is cool, I love city entrances like this. Being from Pittsburgh I enjoyed the Ft Pitt tunnel entrance, but this is such an immediate and surreal experience, I'll have to drive it myself one day.
satadru
2684 days ago
reply
This was my experience entering the city every morning on the bus my first year in the area.
New York, NY

RoboRoach Lets You Control an Insect's Mind With an App

1 Comment
Roboroach-04
Feed-twFeed-fb

Remember in high school, in your bio lab, when you had to dissect that fetal pig? You learned all about physiological systems and their processes. And remember in chemistry, when your professor made a liquid nitrogen bomb to send a trashcan rocketing into the sky? You learned what happens when liquid nitrogen is boiled in a sealed container and turns into a gas

Now, recall your neuroscience class, when you used Bluetooth-operated cyborg cockroaches to learn about brain spikes and adaptation. No? Well, probably because that hasn't happened — yet.

Brought to you by the minds behind Backyard Brains, a neurological education and outreach company, the first commercially available cyborgs are, in fact, here for the general public. They landed on Kickstarter Monday, and they're wooing support from Internet backers worldwide Read more...

More about Apps, Iphone, Technology, Tech, and Gadgets
Read the whole story
joaozitopolo
2696 days ago
reply
excelent idea!
Share this story
Delete