Touch of Gold (Thursday Doors)

Dazzled by the promise of gold
the touch of Midas casts its net–
a hand that remains always cold
locked in a prison of regret.

Segregated behind closed doors
accruing unpayable debt–
too haunted to go anywhere–
locked in a prison of regret.

Tarnished by jealousy’s blindness
darkness grows, becomes a death threat–
drinking and drugs lead to madness
locked in a prison of regret.

I took these photos of the entrance to 57 West 57th Street after a dactor’s appointment there–the building was constructed to be, and still is, primarily medical offices. I was especially taken by the griffin-like creatures at the top of the arch and the scale stonework surround. The patterning above the door is quite wonderful too. I couldn’t quite get the entire door into the close up–I would have had to step out into traffic, unfortunately.

When I looked for the history of the building, I found a number of strange tales were attached to it. Soon after the Medical Arts Sanitarium opened in 1928 on the 14th floor, a patient threw herself out a window.

But the penthouse, which for some reason contained living quarters, has had only tragedy attached to it from start to finish. The details are hazy–I found a number of slightly different versions of the story online–but the first owner, Edna Champion, was a gold digger whose old and very wealthy husband conveniently died in Paris after a violent altercation with her lover, Charles Brazelle. Edna and Charles moved to New York; Edna bought the entire Medical Arts Building with part of her inherited riches so she and Charles could occupy the penthouse.

Needless to say it did not end well. The relationship descended into chaos–and Edna was either murdered by Charles or died of drugs and drink (or both). One of her bodyguards then tossed Charles out a window to his parallel death.

A later tenancy by Carlton Alsop also ended badly. The place was said to be haunted, and his new wife left within a year. Alsop later had a mental breakdown himself, and eventually ended up as a patient in one of the medical facilities in the building below.

The penthouse had a new brief life as an art gallery opening in 2011, but it closed after several years. I could find no information on any current residents there. But the rest of the building still houses medical offices.

Here’s a bit of a happier gold–signs of spring in Central Park. Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt is once again a color theme. I chose gold, and wrote a kyrielle. It’s one of the prompt forms from Muri’s April Scavenger Hunt–I’m doing NaPoWriMo at kblog but thought I’d slip one of them in here.

You can read more about the history and see more photos of 57 West 57 Street here.

And as always Dan Antion is the host of Thursday Doors.

And I couldn’t resist including the great Shirley Bassey.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

40 responses to “Touch of Gold (Thursday Doors)”

  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    Oh my, such a storied building! The intriguing doorway does indeed open to intrigue.
    Thank you for the gold at the end, the spring plants in bloom.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. merrildsmith says :

    Wow–this is fabulous! (In both senses of the word, as it seems mythical.)
    The design above the door and those griffin-like figures are amazing. And thank you for sharing the stories. I’m glad you didn’t face any bad consequences from going to medical offices there!

    Perfect song/video for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jazzytower says :

    Wow! Shirley Bassey, I remember her. A blast from the past.

    That building sounds not only haunted but cursed! Great door though🙂, such details. It’s good that it’s still functioning. Nice post (K)


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dan Antion says :

    That is an amazing history. I guess money can’t buy happiness (or peace of mind). Perhaps it’s a curse by the Griffin.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. yvettemcalleiro says :

    Very intriguing, Kerfe! And your poem is fabulous! Thanks for sharing the history of this door with us. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    Marta never knew such history about this wonderful building. Sad though. Loved your poem too.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. murisopsis says :

    I enjoyed this kyrielle! You really tied the poem into the history of the building! The bonus was that you blended so many prompts into this post – amazing!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Romana Iorga says :

    Wow, what a story! Poor Edna. Love the poem, the golden blooms and the drawing of the door.🍃

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Manja Maksimovič says :

    What an entrance! 😮 And such a sad place it turns out to be. I like your poem too, interesting structure.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ingrid says :

    All the glitters is certainly not gold, Kerfe! Fascinating if tragic tales behind these closed doors…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. brigidfaye says :

    Reminds me of the gilded age, or the building and its history are a great synopsis of the gilded age itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Claudia McGill says :

    Another case of truth is stranger than fiction and more interesting too.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. harmonykentonline says :

    Awesome! Love the pics and the poetry! Well done, Kerfe 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. sustainabilitea says :

    That door and building are quite something, that’s for sure, although I prefer the gold in Central Park. 🙂 Enjoyed the poem and the history as well.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. robertawrites235681907 says :

    HI Kerfe, that is a great door and the history of the pent house is fascinating. It is a lot like room 217 in the Overlook Hotel that features in The Shining by Stephen King.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Miriam Hurdle says :

    What a fascinating tale behind the glittering door, Kerfe. I love your poem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Colleen Chesebro: WordCraftPoetry says :

    The stories of the building are captivating, Kerfe. I always enjoy your doors. When I first read your poem, I thought… “surely she isn’t sharing trump tower?” LOL! I had a good laugh at myself. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. SelmaMartin says :

    MMmn, the words, the photos and the video. Smooth. Lovely. Thanks.xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  19. ben Alexander says :

    Kerfe, this is definitely one of my top favorites in your doors series….. It really connects with me! How lovely!


    Liked by 1 person

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