Madison Square area, Manhattan
Distinguished for its classic beauty, this small marble courthouse represents in a civic building, the epitome of collaboration between architect, sculptor, and mural painter. Classic Eclectic in design, but influenced the Italian Renaissance architect Andrew Palladio, the three-story building, with low basement, expresses the best of Classical tradition, in its columned porch (portico) and much fine sculpture, one of the building’s chief distinctions.
The south elevation is divided into three parts with the impressive porticoed central portion with entrance dominating the facade. Right and left of the portico, symmetrically balanced, are two tiers of handsomely enframed windows on the first and second floors. A low flight of steps leads up to the shallow portico which is formed by six fluted Corinthian columns resting on solid pedestal bases.
These columns support an ornate triangular pediment filled with sculptured figures. On top of the pediment is Justice, flanked by figures representing Power and Study. This facade is crowned with seven statues standing on low pedestal blocks sot within the parapet wall above the roof line.
The west elevation is also imposing. Four Corinthian columns backed-up by pilasters support the cornice. Features of this facade, are the statues of four maidens (caryatides), supporting Ionic capitals, upon which rests the roof cornice. Standing on pedestal blocks, projecting forward from the parapet wall, are two statues one at each comer of the building and a large central group in the middle.
This Civic building set an example for successful collaboration of the Fine Arts. One third of the total construction cost was spent on decoration. Few buildings in the country, even today, can boast of such an endorsement of the arts.
– From the 1966 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report