Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Architectural Tidbits, Part 1

Here are a few architectural tidbits from my travels over the last few days: 1) the Herald Square Hotel on 31st St.; 2) a 19th century Bedford St. brewery, now converted to residences; 3) an Art Deco element over the entry of a Chelsea apartment building; and 4) the Edna St. Vincent Millay house on Bedford St. in the West Village.

I was intrigued by the elaborate entry for the Herald Square Hotel and did some checking. The building was home to the original Life magazine from 1883 until 1936. (In 1936 Henry Luce bought the magazine just so he could acquire rights to the name. Thereafter he published Life as the magazine with which most of us are familiar - that pillar of photojournalism that gave readers some of the most compelling images of the world for 40 years.) The first incarnation of Life was a humor and general interest magazine, rather like its more famous contemporary, Puck, which was produced in the Puck Building (1885), an image of which I posted on April 19th. The first incarnation of Life attracted many famous artists, including Norman Rockwell, who contributed covers from 1917 to 1924. More noteworthy, however, was the work of artist Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the "Gibson Girl" imagery for Life. The gilded sculpture, "Winged Life," over the main entrance was executed by artist Philip Martiny and installed in 1883.

The Edna St. Vincent Millay home, located at 75 1/2 Bedford Street, was constructed in 1873 and is regarded as the narrowest house in New York City. It is only 9 1/2 ft. wide (8 ft. 7 in. inside) and 30 ft. deep. It has housed several famous occupants, including John Barrymore and Margaret Mead.

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Isabel said...

Ahhh...Edna St. Vincent Millay's house. Intriguing. I have to check it out, after all she is one of my favorite poets. Thanks, BC.

Kitty said...

I see you like sculptural and bas-reliefs on buildings? The top entryway definitely reminds me of the Puck Building.

Each sculptural element serves to mark the doorway, like a big 'Enter Here' sign. It gives a face to the building and often the name.

I love New York, too. Isn't it wonderful that what one can photograph is seemingly endless?