NONFICTION

OVER THE DOOR The Ornamental Stonework of New York photographs by John Yang. (Princeton Architectural Press: $19.95; 171 pp.) Here is a romantic collection of 123 black-and-white photographs of the "decorative effects" used to embellish New York brownstones from the Lower Eastside to Harlem. Living there, these eerie faces emerging from the stone go largely unnoticed, but flipping through these pages, a few look vaguely familiar, like someone you passed on the street once, whose expression indicated that he or she knew too much about you. Almost all are leering, ominous, stone-patient, death-defying. The photographs are accompanied only by locations. The book includes a straightforward introduction and some metaphysical appendixes by Charles Darwin, John Ruskin and Stephen J. Greenblatt.

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