One of my favorite aspects of old New York architecture is its "hidden" details, the cryptic placement of fruits, flowers, animals, monsters, and human faces that you will only notice if you bother to notice. You can, if you want, go on a sort of hunt for various species. Here is a brief assortment of honeybees.
Around and atop the clock of The New York Savings Bank Building on 8th Avenue and 14th Street, you will find a beehive and its busy workers. I assume they symbolized the hard but worthwhile efforts that go into saving your resources.
The Russell Sage Foundation building at 122 East 22nd was once the home of the Family Welfare Association of America and the New York School of Social Work. The Sage Building was built from 1912-1915 and decorated with many motifs that symbolized the foundation's philanthropic ideals of "health, work, play, housing, religion, education, civics, and justice."
I guess the bees had to do with work. Or maybe housing. You can see their hives over the doorways.
And the wrought-iron grills are topped with bees. Above the entrance is carved the inscription: "For the improvement of social and living conditions." Now the building is dedicated to luxury apartment living.
Finally, you can also find a honeybee, or maybe two, in the intricately carved balustrade of the stairway above Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, where they most likely were included to symbolize springtime.
Of course, now with Colony Collapse Disorder decimating our honeybee population, such antique architectural representations may be all we'll have left of these industrious and provident reminders of the value in work, thrift, and home.