Walk past the Britannia located at 527 West 110th Street and you will be greeted by the amusing faces of 8 grand grimacing gargoyles crouched just above the top of the first floor. They appear to be engaged in various forms of everyday life; eating, cooking, carrying a platter and writing with a quill pen. Step inside the unusually large 35-foot wide courtyard that joins the two separate wings of the building and chuckle at the two additional fellows who flank each side of the entranceway appearing to be yawning or possibly mocking those who enter the building. Completed in 1909, the developer, J. Charles Weschler, decided to buck the trend of the 12 story tall building, common in the day, and hired the firm of Waid & Willauer to design a more distinctive 9 floor “English” style structure.
Apartments ranged in size from five to nine rooms and rented for between $90 to $250. The Britannia is now a condominium and most of the apartments have been carved into smaller units. Christopher Gray elaborates on the history of the building in his 2009 New York Times column “Meet Me Under the Gobbling Gargoyles”. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/realestate/18scapes.html
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