The 9th Ave Demons Don’t Like You

I’ve been scouting for something around Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen over the last week (as evidenced by some of my recent posts), and I noticed this great building on 9th Ave between 52nd and 53rd.

8th Ave Apt 01

Above each window on the second and third floor are these awesome busts of…well, I’m not really sure what. They sort of remind me of the type of creature you might run into in Dante’s Inferno, or a Greek version of Hell. Each looks pretty unhappy, and the way they’re looking suggests you on the street are the reason for their distaste.

8th Ave Apt 02

8th Ave Apt 05

8th Ave Apt 03

I’d love to know what source these stem from (I’m wondering if there’s a theatrical connection due to the buildings location, perhaps the villains in a play?). I’d also love to know if the eye direction is intentional – that middle guy looks especially annoyed.

The value of this type of ornamentation is made all the more clear when you look at the two neighboring buildings in the first picture and see how boring they look in comparison.

UPDATE! – Readers Marc and Karen report that they’re green men, a popular building motif. Read all about ’em here.

-SCOUT

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  1. They are certainly quasi-Greenman figures based on the foliate elements.

    http://www.oddiments.com/bog/index.html?greenman

  2. You beat me to it, Marc!

    Yes, these are Green Men (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_man), which are an incredibly popular decorative motif. I see them on lots of row houses in the West Village, for example.

  3. Just wanted to say thanks to Scout for this great website. Keep up the good work!

    Have you done any scouting in Gowanus? I live in the area and think it’s full of cool/weird stuff that I don’t know anything about…..the old Ex Lax Inc. building on Atlantic Avenue? The NY Times building (now a school?) on 3rd Ave?

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