Members of the Morphix Group inspect the eyelashes of a Baby Jesus statue to be displayed during the annual Candlemas celebrations at the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Holy Sepulchre in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City (Photo by Tomas Bravo/Reuters via LightBox)
When photographer Gesche Würfel was hunting for apartments in New York, she focused on the usual stuff — did it have a view, were the floors in good shape, did the shower have good pressure. Her husband, a native of the Big Apple, however, had something entirely different in mind.
“He insisted on seeing the basements,” says Würfel, a native of Germany. “One can judge the quality of the building from its basement.”
There’s a reason for this. In the large apartment buildings of Manhattan’s upper east and upper west sides, the basement is where the building superintendent — or super, in the local vernacular — works and, in many cases, lives. The cleaner and tidier the basement, the reasoning goes, the more thorough and efficient the management of the building.
Würfel found herself suddenly fascinated by the make-it-work functionality of these unusual live-work spaces. Her explorations of Manhattan’s building basements revealed garden furniture, kitsch art, painted mirrors, mini-arboreta, poster art, cockatiels, and religious icons. It was so rich a visual goldmine that Würfel started documenting these subterranean spaces two years ago for her project Basement Sanctuaries.
Photographer Finds Cockatiels, Jesus in NYC basements (via Wired)