Monday, May 9, 2016

Missing Silk Clock

Recently, I received this note in an email:

"I am a granddaughter of Alfred Schwarzenbach and my father worked in the building for years. We are all appalled about the disappearance of the clock! How can we find it? Who has the authority to simply take it away? If they don't want it, why not give it back to the family? All questions with no answers! Maybe you can give us some!"

It came from Ines Franck in Switzerland. She is referring to a post I did in 2014 about the lovely Silk Clock on the former Schwarzenbach building on Park Avenue and 32nd Street.


Before, via 14to42

The clock was removed when the building was sold, stripped, streamlined, and turned into TIAA-CREF's 470 Park Avenue South.

At the time, we wondered what would happen to the clock. Would it return to the public sidewalk once the renovations were done?


After

My original tipster on the story went over and took a look.

The Silk Clock has not been returned to the exterior where it can be enjoyed by all. He also searched the lobby and found no trace of the Silk Clock. Only cold marble and security guards.



The clock was originally installed here in 1926. Every hour Zoroaster would wave a wand, causing the Queen of Silk to emerge from her cocoon, holding a tulip. (Click to watch.)

Since it's no longer part of the building, Ines Franck's family would like her grandfather's clock back. She vows to keep searching for it. If you have any clues to the clock's whereabouts, please let us know.

UPDATE: Reader Sheila contacted TIAA-CREF. She reports that they responded on Facebook: "we like the clock too, so we’re restoring it! It will be rehung on the building’s north entrance as soon as it's complete for all New Yorkers to enjoy."


via David Cobb Craig, Street Clocks in NY

4 comments:

James said...

Glad someone has video.
I lived in that neighborhood (East 30th Street, actually) my first month in NYC, many years ago. I never saw that clock in action! I certainly recognize it.

Let me guess: Someone from TIAA-CREF, let's say - a top executive, pulled down the clock for installation in his Westchester/Connecticut mansion. You'll find it in a living room with a view of verdant rolling hills. Either that, or it's upstairs somewhere. I can easily see someone saying "We don't need this on the façade; in fact, it's likely to be damaged. Let's remove it 'for protection'".

So much barbarity, so little sense of history, of society. I hope a clue emerges.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Those in any kind of position of authority REALLY assume their authority over EVERYTHING don't they?

Richard Federico said...

James, my thoughts exactly! However, there is the possibility someone is trying to auction it off. Maybe even shipped it off to a European market where there would probably be more sentimental respect for such a prestigious historical artifact reflecting the spirit and craftsmanship of that time.

Solideflex said...

Since it's no longer part of the building, Ines Franck's family would like her grandfather's clock back. She vows to keep searching for it. If you have any clues to the clock's whereabouts, please let us know.
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