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Roving Rube

Terra Cotta

July 11, 2003

19 Rector Street












1929-30, Lafayette A. Goldstone.
New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company. Brick with brightly glazed terra-cotta ornament. Office building.
(Source: "Terra-Cotta Skyline", by Susan Tunick).

The only thing we could find on this tower (portrait view) is that it was recommended last year for nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Maybe the terra cotta helped?

The Golden Age of terra cotta in New York City seems to have run from the 1880's through the 1930's. Coming towards the end of that period, this building is more restrained in its use of it then others we have seen so far.

The green, yellow, brown and beige patterns highlight the tower's classic "setbacks" (where the building gets thinner as it gets taller according to zoning laws), which are also capped by flat beige "ashlar" blocks, which we think are also terra cotta. The green things actually project out from the side in the way gargoyles would.

We also like the use of red brick strips to contrast the beige.

2-jpg, near street level, shows both brightly colored and monochrome terra cotta motifs. The latter matches the limestone blocks perfectly. At least the Rube thinks it's limestone; having previously thought that all terra cotta was stone, he is now suspecting some stones of being terra cotta. However, the streaky weathering, block dimensions, and texture are characteristic of stones. Terra cotta blocks are more square and may "craze" when they get old. Also, if it has sparkles in it, it's stone.

































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