18 April 2011

The Custom House Murals

The old U.S.  Custom House at the foot of Broadway is one of the most beautiful buildings in New York, and, sadly, one of the least visited by locals and tourist. Every time I go in, it's virtually empty. That's a shame. The interior is as triumphant as the exterior.

My favorite aspect of the interior is the grand, oval, rotunda, with it's wonderful skylight and circle of maritime-themed murals by Reginald Marsh. 

For Marsh, "the painting of these murals was the culmination of years of ardent observation of New York’s shipping activities, its longshoremen, dock workers, tugboats, ocean liners, and cargo vessels. Marsh spent years as an illustrator, sketching theatrical scenes of the city, for magazines and newspapers like the New Yorker and New York Daily."

Here are a few of the murals:


Grade "A" Fancy said...

So nice to see those telephoto. And no neck strain!

Bob Baker said...

I'm a big Reginald Marsh fan and love the Custom House murals. Thanks for posting these! Apparently there was a bit of a flap when they were being painted by Marsh. Then U.S. Maritime Commission chair Joseph Kennedy complained that two foreign-flagged vessels were included -- the Queen Mary and the Normandie. The flap was resolved when Marsh agreed to blur the word "Normandie" and put in additional American flags. Thanks again for posting these! - Bob Baker