Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Variation on a Theme

Originally New York Central Building
then New York General Building
Helmsley Building
230 Park Avenue
Warren & Wetmore, architects
Edward McCartan, sculptor
Seth Thomas Clock

Once a temple to Cornelius Vanderbilt and his railroad, this building will stand forever as a monument to the recently deceased "Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley and her husband, real estate tycoon, Harry. A stipulation agreed to at the time of its sale ordered The Helmsley name to remain on the building in perpetuity. Who says you can't live forever?

The magnificent 24-foot figures surrounding the 45-foot-wide and 19-foot-high clock were created by sculptor McCartan during his three-year tenure on the New York City Art Commission and represent, appropriately, Transportation and Industry. According to the McCartan website, "Transportation, who symbolizes the spirit of speed, rests his arm on a winged wheel of Progress and holds the staff of Mercury. On the right is a female figure, Industry, who embraces a staff in her arm, while resting on a beehive. Several other smaller symbolic figures round out the design including the Liberty Cap."