Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brackets and balconies

This afternoon I walked around my East Side Manhattan neighborhood looking at big old houses. Once I owned a house in town myself, a mid-1880s spec house on West 81st Street. In its early days my block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues was home to half a dozen doctors. By the time I arrived in 1970, it had degenerated into a sinister hispanic slum. No matter; I was charmed by No. 143's congested Victorian aesthetics. It was a far cry, however, from the limestone palazzi that surround me on the Upper East Side today. In lieu of photographing entire facades, I decided today to focus on a single design element of each - bracketed balconies, to be specific.

Image 1 - This fine bow front limestone house is located at 57 East 64th St.

Image 2 - We don't always notice the abundance of fine wrought ironwork and high quality carved stone on these streets. This house is at 47 East 68th St.

Image 3 - This fine stone balcony is above the front door of 11 East 66th Street. The original parlor level entrance to this house has unfortunately been removed and replaced with an aluminum door at basement level.

Image 4 - In lieu of brackets, a frieze of dolphins and seashells runs along the bottom of this superb iron balcony on the facade of 48 East 68th St.

Image 5 - This wasn't actually a balcony, but rather the overdoor above the former entrance to 740 Madison Avenue. The crispness of the carving is really terrific, and I love the little stone angels holding the cartouche.

1 comment:

  1. Very few locations in the U.S. can compare to the rich architecture of the Upper East Side historic district. But your former home on West 81st Street was near the wonderful block occupied by the Museum of Natural History, bordered by the broad tree-lined sidewalks of urbanity that are so stylishly satisfying.