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
Diana (of Madison Square Garden)
The statue of "Diana" that graced the old Madison Square Garden (at Madison Square) is now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A copy is in the Metroplitan Museum of Art.

"Diana" was posed for by model Julia "Dudie" Baird, who also posed for the St. Gaudens "Sherman" statue near Central Park and the Plaza Hotel. Like model Audrey Munson, Baird also fell into obscurity. It is not known what became of her.

Wikipedia: Diana (Saint-Gaudens)
Diana, also known as "Diana of the Tower", is a copper statue, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Once a famous New York City landmark, for over three decades it sat atop of the second Madison Square Garden building. It is currently on display and owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The First Version (1891-1892)
"Diana" was commissioned by Stanford White, as a weathervane for his Madison Square Garden. The model was Julia "Dudie" Baird. White talked his friend Saint-Gaudens into creating the statue for free and picked up the cost of materials himself.

29 September 1891, New York (NY) Times, pg. 9:


A copper statue of Diana, of heroic size, with the thunting costume which mythology says that she wore, and with her bow drawn and an arrow on the string, was taken to the Madison Square Garden yesterday. To-day the figure will be lifted about 350 feet and placed on the top of the Garden tower. In that airy place it will be adjusted to revolve in the breezes, and the goddess will thus become one of the largest weathervanes in the country.

The statue is 18 feet high and is made of finely wrought copper and is gilded. It was designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, and was made by W. H. Mullins at Salem, Ohio. It weighs 1,800 pounds. The goddess is represented as posing herself in the chase to shoot an arrow, and one foot is lifted as if she were still on the run. Her drapery, which flutters behind her, is a big sheet of copper, which will catch the wind and swing the figure, while the arrow will point in the direction the wind is blowing.

18 November 1893, New York (NY) Times, pg. 9:

She Will Defy the Elements P]rotected as
to Her Left Arm by a Scarf.

The new Diana, brightly gilded, will take her place on the top of the Madison Square Garden tower this afternoon. WIth her left arm, which holds the bow, protected by the graceful folds of a scarf, she will defy the Winter's blasts and the Summer's sun.

This Diana is brand new. She was carefully modeled by Sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens, and is about 13 feet in height. The old statue measured 19 feet. It was removed to Chicago over a year ago, where it was greatly admired, and will doubtless remain on the top of the Agricultural Building in the World's Fair grounds.

19 September 1899, North Adams (MA) Transcript, pg. ?, col. 3:
Dictinctly contradictory are the assertions of the chiefest actors in the comedy of mixed models, Miss Julie Baird and Miss Nella Wilder. And there are others. Miss Baird has laughed to scorn the claims of the so called pretenders. "The statue represents the exact outlines of my own form, reproduced in hammered brass, perhaps," says she, "a bit more generously conceived. Diana of Garden fame measures 14 feet in height. Her prototype, which graced the Agricultural building at the World's fair, was 18 feet high, and for it I was the only model approved. Argument is useless. The question could be settled in a moment by the author of its being. Since he doesn't choose to speak, I do, and shall continue to claim regonition as the only and original model." So spake the Baird.

11 July 1924, Evening State Journal (Lincoln, Neb.), pg. 14, col. 6:
Diana is the work of Augustus St. Gaudens and her form is that of "Dudie" Baird, once the most famous model in New York, but who has now faded into obscurity, tho her figure has appeared in many canvasses and is even in the congressional library at Washington.

To get the correct proportions, "Dudie" - her right name was Julia, but when she was a child her tongue tropped on the pronunciation and the nickname clung - was covered from head to foot with plaster, the labor taking six workmen three-quarters of a day.

28 December 1924, New York (NY) Times, pg. SM5:
Goddess of Madison Square Garden, Criticized
at First, Won New York's Heart

25 March 1932, New York Times, pg. 21:

Famous Statue That Stood on
Top of Madison Square Tower
Goes to Philadelphia.


New York Life Insurance Company
Unable to Find Suitable Home
Here in 7 Years' Search.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityArt/Sculpture • Sunday, October 17, 2004 • Permalink

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