Street Photography: Icons of New York

After photographing the Presbyterian Church and the gate detail of the Harry Winston jewelry store – both on Fifth Avenue and described in the last two posts – I walked down and took a side street. There were brownstones that seemed to be of mixed use – business and residential.

One brownstone, at 13 West 54 Street, had a restaurant with prominent signage. Looking closer I saw this carved stone face on the wall. It’s in very good shape and shows quite a bit of workmanship when you consider the level of detail in the facial expression and the top of the head as it morphs into foliage.

If it were in a museum, on a pedestal and encased in glass with a spotlight on it, I think it would take on an artistic gravitas. I can imagine visitors crowding around the sculpture and giving it a higher level of appreciation.

But as long as it remains on the side of a building exposed to the elements, the gargoyle remains a small detail that may, at most, get an occasional glance as it competes for attention with the posted menu.

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Published by Xiomáro

Nationally exhibited artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, and curator. Author of "Weir Farm National Historic Site" (Arcadia Publishing).

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