July 3, 2003
1883-84, Norris G. Starkweather; New York City Landmark.
The Rube had always thought of this as a just a spectacular red building, but up close (2-jpg), one sees the ornamental details are brown -- not brownstone, of course, or they would resemble melted fudgsicles after 120 years, but more of our resilient new friend, terra cotta. The Rube would not have thought of using red and brown together like this, but it works great, and he noticed the combination on one or two other buildings on subsequent walks.
The preceding O. B. Potter-owned building on this spot was destroyed in a terrible fire, and Mr. Potter was determined to make this new one fireproof. Guess what was used for fireproofing?
Potter went on to found the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company and house it in this building.
The burning of the previous building is the climax of Jack Finney's historical romance, "Time and Again", about a man who travels back in time to 1882 NYC. Reading it again, the Rube remembered why he takes so many pictures:
This page requires a 6.0+ browser for the pictures/text to display correctly. If you have an older version of Netscape, Explorer, or AOL, the text will appear cut off and the pictures distorted.