Brickwork & Theatrical Ornament (Riverside Drive)


From a distance, the ornamental  feature up by the roof-line drew our attention. I zoomed in with my trusty digital zoom lens to get a closer look at what turned out to be an old-fashioned  baby-cherub. We then went on to have a better look at 355 Riverside Drive (at 108th St). Chatting up the super who was talking with a friend outside, he told us that the building was designed by Carnegie Hall architect, William Tuthill.  The ornamental details are theatrical: satyr, vase, satyr, vase. But it’s the brickwork that does the decorative heavy-lifting.  Especially catching are the lines of the protruding brick horizontal courses closer to street-level. I think the bond-pattern is Flemish, each row or course alternating with a long rectangular stretcher and small square header brick. The abstraction of the brickwork holds the figural ornament in place. All I could find of interest online was that and that it was built in 1925.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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