Friday, July 18, 2008

Lower Lexington Ave.

I walked down the lower portion of Lexington Avenue yesterday, from 30th St. to its terminus at Gramercy Park, and encountered some beautiful old buildings (and an incredible selection of Indian restaurants). The frieze in the first picture below wraps around this incredible building with Ionic columns (also shown at left) - and it looks vacant, which seems amazing for such a grand structure. Still, it is a little "off the beaten path" as far as prime commercial space goes. If it were situated one block west, on Park Avenue, I'm guessing it would prove a prime space. The armory for the Sixty-ninth Regiment was imposing, and typical of the several armories scattered around the city. In the third picture, I found this little detail, with bull's skull and snake motif, a bit puzzling. Why these creatures? It almost appears almost Central American in style - but not quite - so I'm not sure what to call it! Finally, there's the view looking through the gate of Gramercy Park. Since 1831 Gramercy Park has been a private park, open only to residents of the buildings facing it. According to a recent New York Times article, access to the park is rigidly controlled with keys available only to authorized visitors; non-authorized persons are quickly escorted to the gate. The statue in the center is of the 19th century actor Edwin Booth, brother of Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Edwin Booth's 1847 mansion at 16 Gramercy Park is home to the Player's Club (founded by Booth) and is a National Historic Landmark.

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Kitty said...

there is nothing really like sauntering around the city and taking note of all the details. The city is so rich in its decoration and history. There is (happily) no end to it!

So often we get sucked into a tunnel vision of sorts, looking only at storefronts. Great that you're enjoying and documenting the city.

Isabel said...

I am always fascinated by the city...and love taking these tours through the eyes of a resident who looks up and around. Thanks, Brian.