An account of a night in 2009.
It’s 3am. I just got home. On the way in through the kitchen, out of habit I loped toward the cabinet above the sink to take my nightly cup of water to my room when I remembered I was completely sober and I could stand up straight and calmly reach for the cup of my choice.
My evening started at 6pm at a gallery in the West Village where I watched an artist demonstrate unusual ways to conduct electricity in order to light a lamp. He successfully turned a hot dog into a battery. I wasn’t that impressed because as a child I had had a potato clock from the Klutz catalog. But he was humble in his presentation and earnest in his dedication. He said he had researched many different brands of hot dog and found Nathan’s to be the best. Read more →
Today, after 30 years on the Upper East Side I settled in to my new home in Los Angeles. I will continue to write from here but for my farewell to the UES I am going to reveal some never before seen faces…
The building I grew up in, 4 East 88th Street, has been referred to as NYC’s finest example of neo-federalist architecture by the Carnegie Hill Neighbors Architectural Guide. Designed by Electus D. Litchfield and erected in 1922, the building features a “broken pediment” whose void, just atop the awning, is filled by a carved stone “potpourri” of heads.
No one seems to know for sure who these heads represent. It has been suggested that they are American patriots or that one is Electus Litchfield, the architect himself. I have also only read or heard the head count at four to five even though at least four are clearly visible from the street. But, lucky for me the sculpture sits in one of my family’s windows and during some recent construction I leaned out the window (over a scaffolding and set off an alarm) and photographed the heads as best I could.
There are 8 heads. They go all the way around as if the sculpture was meant to sit on a table or in a garden with all sides visible, and not up against a wall. Unfortunately, their condition has deteriorated over the years and you can see some repairs are also deteriorating. So far I have looked for Litchfield’s records regarding this building in his archives at Columbia University’s Avery Library to try to find out where he acquired the sculpture. The records for this building were not at Avery but there is a chance they could be in the archives at the Met Museum – a task for when I visit my parents in NYC or maybe a task for Christopher Gray.
Anyway, without further ado, I present to you all eight heads.
1. The Topper…
Read more →
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I’m moving to LA in January so I’m going to try to actually journal these last few months as a New Yorker and Upper East Sider.
Lost on the subway.
Went to Lefferts Gardens to have jewelry photographed by Alex Crowe
. Got on 5 train going home, ran across platform at Atlantic Ave to get 4 train thinking it would be faster, got absorbed in the free Metro paper (yesterday’s weirdly having been guest edited by Richard Branson
), arrived at last stop in wrong direction, Crown Heights. Had to take 4 all the way back to 86th Street, got very far in Metro paper because I was afraid to play boggle on my iphone because of all of the recent iphone muggings, especially because of the hypodermic needle mugger even though they caught him.
Still finding great architectural details.
6pm: Walked from 88th to 75th on Park Ave, excited to notice new architectural details. It happens often because so many buildings have scaffolding up for weeks or months at a time for repairs, when the scaffolding comes down there’s a discovery. Read more →
What the heck is up with this door?
321 E 92nd Street:
Also, I think this scroll-hip is pretty sexy. Reminds me of some surrealist stuff.
1105 Park Avenue:
So, in case you didn’t know, I make jewelry (www.rebeccaschiffmanjewelry.com) and my new “Upper East Side Collection” is based on architectural ornament in the neighborhood. I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to get enough pre-orders to be able to pay for some equipment, materials and promotional costs. There are only 7 days left. Please check out my Kickstarter video and page.
The Upper East Side Collection on Kickstarter
Here are some examples of the collection so far:
19 East 88th Street:
1041 Park Avenue:
Building photos taken by Brandon Perlman on medium format film. Some guy at 1021 Park Avenue, possible the super, threatened to call the police while we were taking a photo from across the street on the Park Avenue median.
Jewelry photos by Evan Miller.
Photo sent by Mike Shea (creator of the U.E.S. Journal Logo!):
Photo by Julia Nasser taken on the Upper East Side.