West Side Monsters I

Note: I think I need to make a few qualifications before I embark on this particular tour. These blocks lining Central Park West are filled with monsters. There are more than I can possibly cover. I have chosen to focus on these few blocks in the area of the Museum of Natural History both because they are good representatives of West Side brownstone monsters, and also because it was this area where I, as a child, met my first monster.

74-76-78 West 85th Street

These three buildings start at the corner of Columbus Avenue. No. 78 is a large corner building with a Jackson Hole hamburger restaurant on the first floor with the entrance on Columbus. No. 76 and No. 74 are smaller sidestreet buildings, but done in the same style-- a romantic art nouveau-ish twisting foliage design. The fact that ivy and vines have grown over the figures on these smaller buildings made them really arresting after turning off the bustle of Columbus Avenue. They look almost funerary.

54-58 West 84th Street

54-56-58 West 83rd St. are three well-kept white-faced four story walkups with these wonderful keystone faces hovering over each arched window and door. Note the stained-glass tops.

43 West 84rd Street

This neat little building is home to this excellently preserved winged griffon/dragon, and this snake-like leafy lion-headed creature next to the giant, oak front door.

41 West 84th Street

This is a simply gorgeous brownstone in need of a little tender loving care. They are a bit worn, but here is an example of these fantastic carved bands between the 2nd and 3rd, and between the 3rd and 4th floors. The griffon/dragon here is very similar in style to the one found on neighboring 43 W. 84th.

14 West 83rd Street

There are several buildings in a row with similar under-bay-window details. The window of No. 14, however, had twisty ivy vines for extra atmosphere. Look at those naughty creatures sticking their tongues out!

18-20 West 83rd Street

The window and door work on these neighboring buildings is really exquisite- beautifully carved and in pristine condition, with scrollwork and greenmen hiding beneath the large arched second floor windows.

38-40 West 83rd Street

There isn't really anything too special about this building, with the exception of these heads on the corners of the second floor windows. At least this pigeon finds them comfortable.

60 West 83rd Street

There are an awful lot of good things going on at 60 W. 83rd Street. In fact, it's about all you could want in a monster home-- there are two protective dragons over the doorway, while another dragon guards the base of the stairs (all the time holding up the railing, noble beast)
As if that weren't enough, there is this marvelous peg-toothed greenman beneath the second floor window, and the side of the building front is watched over by a pair of winged lions. To top it all off, the place is in terrific condition (and by extension, terrifically expensive, I'm sure!)

68 West 83rd Street

As I was walking past this building, I didn't think there was anything particularly noticable about it... until I came across this shifty-eyed little fellow who simply demanded to be included in the tour!

15 West 82nd Street

Overall, W. 82nd Street is quiet in terms of creature activity. It does have an unusually diverse row of buildings though, most brownstone blocks run in series of 2 or 3 buildings of almost identical style- and these are all unique. The best figure in the series is clearly this horned demon over the windows of No. 15

62 West 82nd Street

I'd almost given up on the rest of this block, until I spotted these sneaky little heads hiding in the leaves on No. 62.

Neighborhood Notes: Of necessity, the monsters chosen for this tour were only a small sampling of the creatures lurking near Central Park. Where there were several examples of similar style, I chose the ones I found to be in the best or most interesting condition. Explore on your own and you'll quickly find favorites of your own. Now come along and try another one of The Monster Walks

© 2003 Amelia Wilson. All rights reserved.