The Animal Building on East 67th Street

I was walking past this art deco apartment building on East 67th Street yesterday…

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…when I noticed a series of really neat animal designs surrounding this side entrance.

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Above the door, a bulldog:

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Perched in the corners are an unhappy-looking dog and a menacing-looking rabbit:

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And above the entrance is this fanciful relief:

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It seemed a bit out of place, as the rest of the building is pretty much stone, with no adornment above the first floor. Then I noticed the animal motif continues across the ground floor. For example…

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…this owl above a window:

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On this window…

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…an eagle looks down…

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…with cats perched in either corner.

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The next window also has an eagle, but features more intricate design work on either side:

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Close-up:

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The entrance is equally decorated:

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Over the doorway is this arch – note the deco-style triangles lining the flowers. Also note the row of men on the outer rim…

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…oddly, leading up to this smiling bat in the dead center!

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More animals crowded in:

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On either side is a vertical row of various animals:

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And more animals:

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Beneath this lantern beside the door…

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…are a circle of really cool deco-style birds holding it up. Look really closely at the spiraling detail:

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There’s not much building history to report. It was designed by Andrew J. Thomas and constructed in 1931. The red brick is intended to match the nearby Armory. And it apparently has one of the nicest building courtyards in the city, which I was only able to glimpse at through the front door:

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I’ll definitely try to check it out sometime soon.

-SCOUT

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14 comments

  1. Great find! I hope you can get in and share more pictures.

  2. The animal motifs look a lot like the ones around the doors at St John Nepomucene, at First and 66th, finished in 1925. (There’s a pegasus at one corner!)

  3. Beautiful! To me, more Romanesque than pure Deco, though.

    They remind me of the animals on the New York Academy of Medicine, finished in 1926: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=academy%20of%20medicine&w=19479358%40N00

  4. One of my favorites! And every time I walk by I think that should come back later and take pictures. This had been going on for decades.So thanks for documenting those inventive animal motifs!

  5. Reading “Bite Marks” right now which is about vampires in NY. Story is set in 1980s and 1930s NYC. When I saw these pictures, I thought: clearly this a building that vampires lived in/built. They walk among us!

  6. Love the detail of the light. Great find

  7. Another great find . . . that rabbit is wild!

  8. I wonder if pets are allowed in this building ;)

  9. I wonder if there weren’t some Old World carpenters hanging around after working on NY area cathedrals/churches/whatever that were looking for work. I know that, were I an architect, I’d want to take advantage of that kind of resource.

    OTOH, it sort of looks like the details might have been rescued from a previously-demolished building and inset right into the concrete here. Either way, it’s a great find!

  10. I love your blog! I’m visiting the city and am continually surprised by the ornamentations and unusual corners. It’s nice to have the luxury of wandering. Once I was taking a picture of a doorway when the owners came out of it, nearly giving me a heart attack, but they were very nice. I also stumbled into an old house called “Broken Angel” in Clinton hill, a wacky old art house that’s been ruled hazardous. I was taking a picture through the mail slot into the stoop area and was accosted very angrily by a stranger who obviously didn’t know it was no longer occupied.

  11. The building facade is on 68th Street facing Hunter College’s North Building. Carvings of students, professors etc, are across the street on the older building (Thomas Hunter Hall). You may see some of the student faces, live, if you look around.. I don’t believe the south side of the building, facing the Armory, has any carvings.

    Your pictures of the animals are excellent.

  12. I was wrong. I see the Hunter Building on the right. They have the exact same entrance on 68th. Amazing, I took the bus from the nearby bus stop and never realized it. Now I know how you got the good light for the pictures.

  13. wow. i just found your website and i love it. i used to live in nyc and miss it. so getting these little doses, which i can share with my daughters, will be so appreciated. love this animal building and will try to check it out on my visit in july. thanks so much for your blog!

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