A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 17, 2004
Spirit of Communication (Golden Boy)
Want to own a piece of New York City history?

Evelyn Beatrice Longman (1874-1854) designed this 1916 statue of "Electricity," or "Spirit of Communication" (nicknamed "Golden Boy"). It stood at 195 Broadway, but was moved in the 1980s to 550 Madison Avenue (then the brand-new "Chippendale" A.T.&T. Building, now the SONY building).

Now Golden Boy is in New Jersey!

"Spirit of Electricity"

This 24 foot, 16 ton bronze statue (covered in gold leaf) by Evelyn Beatrice Longman (1874-1954) was commissioned by AT&T in 1916 and stood originally atop their old New York skyscraper. It was renovated in 1980 and moved to the lobby of the New Jersey headquarters on a 21 foot black Swedish-granite base until the building was sold in 2002, when it was moved again to another AT&T property. Now (2004) it's apparently up for sale.

Also known as "The Genius of Electricity", "Electricity and the Spirit of Communication", and "Spirit of Electricity" (this 1938 AT&T textbook cut's caption). Nickname: "Golden Boy".

11 March 1954, New York Times, pg. 34:
In many American communities the telephone directories beat on the cover a reproduction of the statue representing "Spirit of Communication, " which Miss Longman designed for the American Telegraph and Telephone Building at 195 Broadway.

31 August 1981, New York Times, pg. B3:
Landmark Statue Being Restored
For 64 years, the statue, the "Spirit of Communications" stood atop the 26-story headquarters of A.T.&T. at 195 Broadway. It was a heroic-sized sculpture said to be one of the city's largest single architectural figures, possibly second in size only to the Statue of Liberty.

Now the dismantled "Golden Boy," as the winged statue is known informally, is being scrubbed, patched and gilded anew for installation in the lobby of A.T.&T.'s new headquarters at 550 Madison Avenue, expected to open next year.

16 October 1992, New York Times, pg. B4:
New Home for A.T.&T. "Golden Boy"
"Golden Boy," surely among the more peripatetic allegorical sculptures around, began its corporate life in 1916, when its creator, Evelyn Beatrice Longman, a disciple of Daniel Chester French, titled it "Electricity," intending to personify the power and mystery of an elemental force. Coated in 14-carat gold leaf, it was installed atop the 29th-floor tower if A.T.&T.'s world headquarters at 195 Broadway, between Fulton and Dey Streets. Its dazzling gold skin - easily visible in a city with unrealized skyscraper potential - soon gave rise to its nickname.

In the 1930's, the company renamed it "Spirit of COmmunication" in recognition of A.T.&T.'s emergence as a worldwide telecommunications conglomerate.

Posted by Barry Popik
Art/Sculpture • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 17, 2004 • Permalink