December 15, 2019


Some Tudor City‒related artwork today. First up, a 1932 painting by Stuart Davis entitled New York Mural. Davis (1892-1964) was a modernist painter whose work mimicked the rhythms of jazz and whose technique reflected the flat, bold style of advertising, predating Pop Art. 

New York Mural, 1932.

New York Mural is an homage to New York Governor Al Smith, who had recently lost a run for the presidency. Objects relating to the Governor in the mural include the derby hats that he favored and the Empire State Building, which he tirelessly promoted. The bananas are a nod to Smith's campaign theme song, "Yes, We Have No Bananas." The tiger with a serpent's tail represents Tammany Hall, with which Smith was affiliated.

Center right in the mural is a group of brick-red buildings, Davis' take on Tudor City [detail at left]. Why Tudor City? Al Smith and Fred French were pals, and both very vocal proponents of walking. Indeed, the day the Empire State Building opened, Smith gave a radio address stating that the solution to the city's traffic problems lay in building residential complexes near business centers. "This has been attempted in Tudor City," he noted, adding that "it's better for health to walk five or ten blocks in the morning than to take a chance of life and limb in the subways." Amen to that.


Above, a more contemporary ‒ albeit temporary ‒ artwork appeared on the Tudor City Bridge last Wednesday afternoon. Made of roses and votives and arranged in the shape of a heart, it's the work of an unknown artist. And, most likely, the site of a marriage proposal.

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