I think I’ve found the Gargoyle Gathering place of New York.
I was walking on Union Square North and my eyes naturally followed a photographer’s lens, up, up, up above street level and, for the first time, I noticed the top floors of the Decker Building. I’ve long admired the ornate stonework surrounding the doorway of what is now a PUMA shop, but somehow I never noticed what was going on eleven floors above the street.
It looks like a little like a medieval monastery, in Spain where the Islamic influence was powerful. But, this is New York City so it’s NOT a historical relic of some distant past. New York — or this part of New York — is simply not that old so… What could it be?
A mock medieval cathedral high up above the park — it’s got to be the spot where the Flatiron District and Chelsea Gargoyles gather under cover of darkness. when they fly off their buildings at night. Maybe the Gargoyles of SoHo join them, too?
I went home and checked out the Decker on the Internet. Built in 1893, it was, for a time, the tallest building at Union Square. I think I never noticed the top floors because the stunning — house party for gargoyles — top floors no longer tower over late 19th century four and five story buildings. The top floors have been swallowed up in more recent buildings, which provide excellent cover for those Art Deco Gargoyles in search of a good place to hang out.
In 1869, when the German-born Decker brothers needed a building for their thriving post-Civil War piano business, they located their headquarters on Union Square. They replaced it in 1883 with a fantasy of Venetian arcades and Moorish balconies designed by John Edelmann (a radical who got himself thrown out of the Socialist party) that towered above the park. It’s still a monument to the power of cast iron filigrees and makes a very Chelsea fashion statement with a skinny, domed minaret at the top.
At the time, the tall narrow building got mixed reviews. Some people loved the fanciful, decorative elements, but much of the praise went to the state-of-the-art elevators and other modern conveniences.
Now, it’s a building out-of-time and out-of-place, hovering between worlds. Can you imagine a better place for off-hours Gargoyles to gather with their friends?