One of my favorite buildings in Morningside Heights is the Britannia at 527 West 110th Street.
The building, built in 1909, is divided into two wings and features two rows of fantastic gargoyles below the second floor balconies:
What makes this building particularly great is how low the gargoyles are to the ground. At only ten feet up or so, a passerby can actually appreciate their design (as opposed to those stationed tens or hundreds of feet up that seem to have been put in place only for the birds).
The gargoyles were said to be “symbolic of some form of the homely art of housekeeping,” according to a recent NY Times Streetscapes article, but nothing more is known to elaborate on this. First off is a man writing in a ledger, a very shifty look on his face:
Next is a man carrying a platter with a roast chicken:
Next is a man eating from a bowl:
Finally, there’s the cook, stirring a pot and taking a taste:
So money, ingredients, preparation, and consumption? The building features other interesting design elements as well…