I used to be in Astoria, Queens over the weekend, and after spending a while there and was strolling again to my automobile, I observed this uncommon architectural element on a brick dwelling close to the sting of the park. There’s one thing about the way in which these white columns and balustrade* act as a dramatic point of interest on an in any other case typical brick construction that grabbed my consideration. However as I walked by, I additionally observed the ornamental urns with blue flames, and needed to zoom in for a more in-depth look.
(* A “baluster” is an upright help present in architectural options; a bunch of balusters supporting a handrail – as seen surrounding this second story terrace – is known as a “balustrade.” I needed to look that one up, so I may know find out how to consult with what I used to be seeing right here)
The selection of blue for the flames made me curious – is there some particular that means to this? A gasoline flame may seem blue, however I don’t suppose this specific use of the colour is supposed as any type of reference to gasoline flames. Astoria has lengthy been often known as having the biggest Greek neighborhood in New York, so an web seek for “blue flame Greek artwork” got here up with this sudden tidbit: “In Greek mythology, blue flame often represents opposition, most likely on account of blue being the “reverse” of yellow/orange. Scientifically, blue flame is produced by burning sulfur, one thing Christians often affiliate with hell.” This led my curiosity to dig deeper, and I realized there’s one thing often known as “Greek Fireplace,” which was a flame-throwing weapon utilized by the Japanese Roman Empire within the seventh Century. There’s a query as to what colour it might need been, as the unique recipe for Greek Fireplace has been misplaced to historical past, with some options that it included potassium nitrate, or maybe calcium oxide. All they know is that it was some type of mysterious chemical concoction which might proceed to burn on water, which explains its use in naval battles – try this image from an ancient manuscript which describes a fleet of the Romans utilizing “Greek Fireplace” to set ablaze the fleet of their enemies (however – in fact as you’ll be able to see, the flame is not blue).
Okay, I do know I’m going approach off on a tangent as to why there is likely to be sculptural flames painted blue on a terrace of a house in Astoria, it may merely be the results of a Greek home-owner utilizing a shade of blue that’s fairly frequent all through all of Greece, as one has little doubt seen in pictures such as these or pictures like these. Though that may very well be the straightforward reply, the entire facet of Greek historical past and chemical weapons and historic manuscripts appeared like an attention-grabbing detour to share right here.
If anybody has another theories as to why these flames are blue, please share your ideas within the feedback part under.