Building: The Puck Building
Date built: 1885
The Puck building derives its name from Puck Magazine, America’s “first successful humor magazine”–that is, humor in social satire and political cartooning. The magazine is also the first to successfully use full-color lithography in weekly prints and the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising.
Puck, originally a mischievous character from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s dream, served as the personified symbol of the satirical magazine. The magazine’s cover always quoted the character, Puck, as saying “What fools these mortals be!” Today, Puck can be found at the corner of the building and above the western doorway with a top-hat and a hand-mirror, ostensibly repeating his famous refrain to admiring pedestrians.
The Puck building serves as an example of “German Romanesque Revival” architecture. The façade of the building certainly exhibits a Romanesque style given the copious number of arches and the long lower arcade that adorns the entirety of the edifice.
Puck, the personified character after which the building was named, stands over the entrance of the building as a reminder of old publishing district that once stood in its place. Taking a moment to appreciate this building’s stunning bright, red brick façade pays tribute to a magazine that once “served as a major institution in the city’s civic and cultural life”.
Fun Note: Puck magazine harshly criticized corrupt politicians and tycoons via its political and satirical cartoons. In 1916 media mogul William Randolph Hearst, an often satirized figure, bought the magazine and after two years the magazine, suspiciously, stopped printing. Conspiracy theorists unite!
This post is for Peter Boyce who now works in this gorgeous building.
Sources: http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1983PuckBuilding.pdf, http://goo.gl/bNc9EK, http://www.nyc-architecture.com/SOH/SOH037.htm,