Today, after 30 years on the Upper East Side, I settled into 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 only read or heard the head count at four to five, and only four are easily visible from the street. But, lucky for me, the sculpture sits in one our windows, and during some recent construction I was able to lean out safely over some scaffolding (setting off an alarm in the process) and photograph 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 – not up against a wall. Unfortunately, their condition has deteriorated over the years and you can see some repairs are also deteriorating. I have looked through all of the Litchfield papers at Columbia University’s Avery Library to find out where he acquired the sculpture, but unfortunately the records for this building are not part of the collection. Perhaps this is a task for Christopher Gray.
Anyway, without further ado, I present to you all eight heads.
1. The Topper…
Continue reading “8 Heads, Count ’em! (Never before seen photos of back side of UES sculpture)”
I’ve been watching the John Adams HBO series starring Paul Giamatti and feeling a little patriotic so today my friend Mike and I walked around looking for a plaque commemorating the execution site of an American Revolutionary War Hero, Nathan Hale, and eventually we found it on the side of a Banana Republic.
According to a NY Historical Society plaque on the West side of Third Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets, Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary war hero, was hanged by the British, “probably within a hundred yards of here.”
The hanging site of Nathan Hale is significant because it is where he uttered his famous last words (there are many conflicting accounts of these words, but all accounts give the same general sentiment which boil down to what follows),
“I only regret that I have but one life to give my country.” Continue reading “American Hero’s Last Words and Execution on The U.E.S.”
Larry Fink, Russian Ball, Colony Club, New York City, 1977, via MoMA
Blair’s maid, Darota via WoodyCakes
On tonight’s episode of Gossip Girl, Blair throws a little party for members of the exclusive women’s social group, The Colony Club, in an attempt to gain entrance.Â Her guests turn out to be a bunch of stodgy, petty, argyle-clad bitches who insist that Serena’s family and Chuck Bass are not to be associated with because of tabloid mentions, skimpy outfits, and nouveau-richeness.Â In a display of strong character, Blair eventually totally disses them by ending the party and proclaiming the greatness of Serena and her mother, and her close association with Chuck Bass.
Which reminds me that I once picked up a copy of “The History of the Colony Club” at the Strand- I knew it would come in handy at some point- Continue reading “The Colony Club as seen on Gossip Girl”
The U.E.S. Journal has acquired two original engineers’ photographs of subway construction under The Upper East Side in 1914.Â Visit the “old photos” section of P.U.E.S. to see more…
Under 60th and Lex, 1914.
Rudy Burkhardt, Pedestrians, New York City, 1939
Photo via Met Museum
There’s a show up at The Metropolitan Museum of Art of which I’ve come back to three times because I enjoy it so much, maybe I can convince you to come see it too…
New York, N. Why? (1940) is a handmade scrapbook of silver-gelatin photographs Rudy Burkhardt took in New York City between 1937 and 1940 accompanied by 7 sonnets by the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby.Â The Met owns the only copy which has been unbound and hung on the wall in sequence for this exhibition. Continue reading “Come See: New York, N. Why? at The Met.”