Three creatures guard a doorway on 35th Street near Astoria Boulevard in Queens. Gargoyles and fanciful monsters of all shapes and sizes adorned not only architecture, but such varied objects as printers’ marks and the heads of walking sticks.
In Pickman’s Model, H.P. Lovecraft created a nightmare world under the cemeteries of Boston in which ghouls congregated under graveyards, taking sustenance from unnamable sources, and were the inspirations for such sculptures and carvings that exist in architecture.
But in reality they exist only in the feverish dreams of architects and designers until they became unfashionable during the Art Deco era, and the streamlined styles that followed it. Perhaps they will return some day; but a black plague may be necessary to revive them.