A Golden Elevator In Prospect Park South

I always enjoy scouting apartment buildings around the Prospect Park South area. They don’t look especially interesting from the outside…


…but you’d be amazed at how many have an almost regal tone to their lobbies. Sadly, most of them are pretty run down, but the details often persist, and every once in a while, you come across one in really great shape. This one in particular really impressed me:

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First, the fireplace, flanked by castle-like turrets…

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…and topped with the royal coat of arms for the United Kingdom:

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Overhead are these wonderfully intricate beams – really in immaculate condition, especially for the neighborhood:

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Feel like you’re being watched? You are:

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But what really got me was the elevator. Inside and out, it’s otherwise pretty much identical to other elevators in the neighborhood…

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…except for this gold-plated design on the door.

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Seriously, how beautiful is that?

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I’m not an expert on the art of elevator design, but it feels very art nouveau, almost like something by Alphonse Mucha.


I love the design, of a woman hanging a flower basket:

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A close-up of the woman:

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I spoke with the super, who didn’t know any of the building’s history but made it really clear how much he loves his lobby, and strives to keep it in excellent condition (fearing that someone might damage the plate, he covered it in the clear plastic seen above).

Does anyone know anything about this sort of elevator design? Is it common for New York? I’ve certainly never seen another elevator like it, but I really hope there are more out there.


PS – This was on a nearby building. Over/under on when $50 was compelling enough to wait for the arrest AND conviction?


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  1. Hi Scout,

    this is so so Beau-TI-FULL!!! thanks for making me dream and imagining how things were when those buildings were build.

    I’ve never been to NYC but im planning a trip,seeing your posts make me even more excited im mapping all the stuff i HAVE to see once i get there!

    Love from Belgium!

    xo Harmonie

  2. Bruce Rubenstein

    The street shot looks E18th St., facing south from Tennis Ct. to Albemarle Rd. I grew up on E19th St. during the 50’s & 60’s. There are two apartment buildings on the North and South side of Albemarle Rd., between E18th & E19th that had koi ponds in the building entrance areas. It was a rather elegant part of Flatbush (Prospect Park South is on the other side of the tracks.)

  3. Very nice building. The Coat of Arms is interesting…the lower left and upper right block *ought* to be three lions, rather than fleur-de-lis…



  4. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the picture of the woman on the door looks like there is a short bald man who has his face in her bosom. Beautiful either way, though!

  5. Kudos to the super who takes such lovely care of his lobby!

  6. When looking for locations to do a rooftop shoot in NY a few years back I seem to recall seeing a interesting gold elevator doors in a lobby somewhere, possibly Nelson Tower on 7th. But they were Deco in style.

    I wouldn’t say the door is Art Noveau as it looks far more like Arts and Crafts, an earlier style.

  7. I know of another elevator that I believe is made of a similar material and is located in a friends building by Brooklyn College.

  8. Just lovely! It reminds me of the elevator doors in the Rochester public library:
    a closeup:

    And, indeed, kudos to the super. It’s heartwarming to know he appreciates the beauty in his stewardship.

    • Any idea what Ohna means the figure on the right? Should I consult Bulfinch? Never been to Rochester, how were the Genny’s?

  9. @Mike … where do you see that? I can’t even begin to pretend I see what you described. Bizarre.

    • Hahah, I actually see it too! (though I fear this might be a test in Freudian psychology). The guy can be seen in the dirt and grime on the door. The man is in profile – imagine a thinner Alfred Hitchcock type in a suit. There’s a dark vertical smudge – that’s the back of his right arm. See it now?

  10. Agree with Ed, that’s not the Coat of Arms of the UK. It’s nearer to the Coat of Arms of Canada http://www.heraldry.ca/images/canadaarms1921.jpg, but not quite.

  11. I’ve seen similar elevator doors in the lobby of The Majestic at CPW & 72nd Street. Theirs are made of nickel I think. Waiting for the elevator there is a little treat. In fact, that whole lobby is just gorgeous. It’s a deco terrazzo masterpiece.

  12. I just love all the nifty corners you find in this wonderful city. Great job.

  13. I want a Scouting NYC app that’ll take me on a tour.

  14. What a gorgeous piece of art!! I hope it is always preserved. It really does look like a Mucha design.

  15. actually it looked like a little girl with a bonnet with some flowers on it standing beside the woman and clinging to the woman. i dont see a bald man. the ‘bald’ appearance is the dome of the bonnet.

  16. Beautiful details in the lobby, particularly the elevator – today’s architecture is a disgrace.

  17. I live in the area & have a similar appreciation for the buildings there. Are you familiar with the Chateau? http://nyunplugged.net/2012/07/12/the-chateau-of-flatbush/

  18. but the door isn’t really gold plated as you suggest right?