On the west side of Washington Square Park stands #37, an apartment building that was built in 1928 by Gronenberg & Leuchtag. The 17-story building serves as housing for faculty members of New York University, which bought the building in 1953.
A few blocks north of 37 Washington Square West, at the corner of West Ninth Street, stands 24 Fifth Avenue, a 16-story building, erected in 1926; and only two block further up The Avenue, between 10th and 11 Streets, is the 14-story, 1922 Grosvenor. These two buildings were designed by Emery Roth; and each is a private co-operative apartment house.
What ties these three buildings together are the glazed terra cotta tiles that decorate their facades. Notice the angels’ faces and wings that are part of the window surrounds at 24 Fifth Avenue.
There is a greater decorative connection between 37 Washington Square West and 39 Fifth Avenue. To me, it looks as if Gronenberg & Leuchtag copied Emery Roth’s detailing. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Each building has a terra cotta faux loggia and mock-heraldic coat of arms; although the coat of arms above the door to 39 Fifth Avenue is much more grand, showing off the castle of Castile and the lion of Leone. These lower-story elements offer a welcome splash of color; and are echoed at the upper stories. The sunny colors and shapes bring to mind Spain’s southern province, Andalucía.
Window surround at 24 Fifth Avenue.
Details of the window surrounds at 24 Fifth Avenue.
A portion of the faux loggia at 37 Washington Square West
Detailed portion of the faux loggia at 37 Washington Square West.
Window arch and mock-heraldic coat of arms at 37 Washington Square West.
A window surround and faux balcony at 37 Washington Square West.
A portion of the faux loggia and its arched windows at 39 Fifth Avenue.
The mock-heraldic coat of arms at 39 Fifth Avenue.