More Lions (Thursday Doors)

The streets are my friends–
a concrete jungle, gridded
rampantly with doors.

I walk among guardians,
greeting them with a photo.

Lion spirits mix
garlands with mysterious
detailed messages.

Hello, tell me your story.
Silence keeps their secrets safe.

I encountered both of these lion doors while out running errands. The first building is rundown with an unremarkable metal door and buzzer system–yet it’s heartening to see that the lion guardians remain to keep evil spirits away.

I was able to find out a bit more about the second building– it was constructed in 1890, designed by architect John G Prague, with storefronts on Amsterdam Avenue and five stories. Three more stories were added in the early 1980s. The building is a rental with 46 studio, one- and two- bedroom units. There doesn’t seem to be much turnover, so I expect it’s well-maintained. It looks that way from the outside.

John Prague designed many many upper west side buildings and brownstones, but I was unable to find out any other information about him.

And I was left totally in the dark as to the reason for the Stars of David above the doorway. They make sense as an accompaniment to the lion ornaments, as both are symbols of Judaism. But the building is just an apartment building now–was there originally a synagogue inside? A religious school? I could find no information about it at all.

Life is full of mysteries. This is just another one to add to my list.

The poem I wrote for the lion doors answers the W3 prompt from Jaideep Khanduja for a tanka with personification using the words “concrete jungle”. And I’ve also used some words from Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Random Word List: mix, greet, walk, detail, and rampant.

And look for more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.

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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

62 responses to “More Lions (Thursday Doors)”

  1. Ingrid says :

    Thereโ€™s something inherently mysterious about doors, and when you add in the symbolism, the mystery deepensโ€ฆ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. merrildsmith says :

    Beautiful detailing. I can imagine them as friends, too. The lion in the last photo looks very friendly, like the Cowardly Lion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That is interesting about the lions and stars of David. I wonder why?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dan Antion says :

    Your poem is lovely. You do have to wonder what all those lions have seen and what secrets they keep. The star of David has been used in architecture to symbolize unions (male/female – man/God) but I think that by the time this building was under construction, it would have been primarily associated with Judaism. As you say, a mystery. in any case, wonderful photos, history and a beautiful poem.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Liz Gauffreau says :

    Another intriguing set of building facades! If only buildings could divulge their secret stories. I’d be very happy to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. poetisatinta says :

    Great imagery ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aletha Kuschan says :

    Do you ever publish your poetry, Kerfe (apart from internet)?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aletha Kuschan says :

    Your lions are reminding me how many lions there are in DC. We pass them on our walks. They’re all over the place, sometimes where you’d least expect them. I have always thought that rubbing the lion’s nose brings good luck! They can be fun to draw. Your post makes me want to go find stone lions to draw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      The Library Lions are famous but there are surprisingly many on ordinary buildings too. It’s also Columbia University’s mascot, so that may account for some of them in Morningside Heights.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Colleen M. Chesebro says :

    Excellent… I always love your doors. Your poem fits the images perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sustainabilitea says :

    I really like this line: “gridded rampantly with doors” and it’s interesting that there are lions because of the “lion rampant” in history. Anyway, enjoyed the poem, doors, surroundings, and accompanying information. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Liked by 1 person

  10. neil reid says :

    Small town, West Coast, we don’t have buildings like this. Old I understand, what you show. Wondering however (hope?) does ANYONE at all do this kind of ornamentation these modern days? Have you seen any that are new?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ben Alexander says :

    When I first read this prompt, I immediately thought of you and your walks, Kerfe… and you did not disappoint! โค


    Liked by 1 person

  12. kittysverses says :

    “Silence keeps their secrets safe.” Beautiful, K. Also the backstory is interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    Nice and beautiful buildings and very interesting too Marta ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  14. robertawrites235681907 says :

    HI Kerfe, More interesting doors. I love the lions and the history you found. A great poem to go with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    These wonderful poems tell of your weekly adventures and match well these images you’ve shared. You know I have enjoyed your doors, my virtual Thursday stroll through an urban landscape. If it wasn’t for your Thursday Doors providing a window to the city I would not have been equipped at all to even try this week’s W3 prompt. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Brenda's Thoughts says :

    Impressive doors! I enjoyed your poem as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. msjadeli says :

    You inspired me to imagine late at night, when the city sleeps, all of the carvings coming to life and roaming in the concrete jungle. Beautiful doors. Do they frequently add stories on top of existing buildings in NYC?

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Jade, I can imagine that too. Perhaps some of the night people help conjure their waking…
      They are always trying to add stories to old buildings and people are always opposing it. In this case it was very tastefully done–you can’t tell unless you look closely. Sometimes they just stick an ugly box on top which is unfortunate. But we do need more housing, although not the tall luxury glass buildings they are fond of constructing now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli says :

        You’re welcome, K. Isn’t it possible to mandate the upward additions match existing structure? Those mismatches make me think of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It’s too bad they couldn’t build underground, but I think that would be trouble with the water nearby. Eventually humans may have to start building out over the water to make enough room for all.

        Liked by 1 person

        • memadtwo says :

          What we need is less humans. But our current economic system requires more and more worker bees…

          Building plans go through an approval process, but it doesn’t always work very well. Money talks, as it does in so many circumstances.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. M Jay Dixit says :

    Man! Life is so full of suspense, you just have to be observant, you made me think~Jay

    Liked by 1 person

  19. D. Wallace Peach says :

    Both entryways are ornate and beautiful, Kerfe. The lions are impressive. I’ve rarely seen ones jutting from the frame like they do in the second building. They’re stunning. And I like the whole ornamentation and shape of the steps. A beautiful poem about your walks rampant with doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. yvettemcalleiro says :

    I love lion statues! Your poem was wonderful, Kerfe!

    Yvette M Calleiro ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  21. D.L. Finn, Author says :

    I love the tie in with those beautiful doors! They do have secrets ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. chava61 says :

    I wonder if the original owner of the building was Jewish and hence had a Star of David put over the door?!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dave Kingsbury says :

    This post with its verse and pictures certainly opened a few doors for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ben Alexander says :

    Hi, Kerfe โค

    I just wanna let you know that this week's W3 prompt, hosted by the wonderful Angela Wilson, is now live:

    W3 Prompt #41: Weaโ€™ve Written Weekly




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