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Terra Cotta

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Roving Rube

July 28, 2003

Astor Place Building, 746-50 Broadway

1881-83, William Schickel.
Brick with terra-cotta ornament. Commercial.
(Source: "Terra-Cotta Skyline", by Susan Tunick).

The oldest terra cotta to be seen on this walk [and this series] is used in this building, which was owned by Orlando B. Potter, a successful real estate operator and a co-founder, in 1885-86, of the New York Terra Cotta Company. The terra cotta on this building is brown, which mimics the brownstone that was popular at the time it was constructed...Even without binoculars, you can see the sharpness of detail and the small size of the units, which helps to identify the material on the building as terra cotta...The beautifully crisp capitals above the fourth floor and all the inset ornament are also terra cotta. (Terra Cotta: Don't Take It For Granite, by Susan Tunick, p. 18).

The Rube is again struck by the somewhat abstract appearance of this ornament. Also, that it was thirty years from this building to when they first tried entirely cladding a building in terra cotta.

All content �2003 on behalf of its creators.

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