Faces of New York, ©2013 Walter Judy Photography

Faces of New York, Week 4

Howdy, and thank you again for stopping by. Today I wanted to take a look at a building on across town and to try out a new piece of equipment in the process. In my past life, what feels like eons ago but is merely two years past, photography was a huge part of my day-to-day routine. Returning to full-time flying status has caused a sharp drop-off in the amount of time and energy I am able to devote to one of my favorite creative outlets. Fittingly, I haven’t needed to acquire almost any new photography gear lately since my current rig is quite satisfactory. Still, after looking at one off and on for several years I found a great deal today on a 2x teleconverter that takes my Canon 70-200mm lens and bumps it out to 140-400mm. For the non-technophiles out there, this is a good amount of optical reach, and will help out immensely in the pursuit of this project.

So! On to the faces for this week. This building is on the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and 37th Street, and has several what are possibly Lucifer or snarling Bacchus faces. There are the requisite ram’s horns, the scowling façade pieces, and the apparently forked-tongues of the larger faces on the columns–to me these suggest a devilish leaning. This could, however, simply be an embellishment by the artist. Hard to say. What I find truly confounding about the building is the repeated, written-in-stone date: 1889. I went through some of the internet-accessible public records for this property and found the construction date of record for this building to be 1915. Why the discrepancy? Did someone have an affinity for the year 1889 when the building was built? Does it relate to the original builder’s birth year, or perhaps the year a family came to the United States? Was there a demolished, original building on this site built first in 1889?

Maybe the faces on this structure are part of a newer renovation, perhaps an atavist’s very, very roundabout declaration of love for late 1980’s music, specifically INXS. Either way, it’s going to be the first of several devilishly interesting buildings I’ve spotted around New York City.

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