In 1895, when pocket- and wristwatches were still luxury items, the clock atop the new two-story Renaissance-style Herald Building at Thirty-Fifth and Broadway rang the hours for workers in the neighborhood. Under the Greek goddess Athena's imperious gaze, Stuff and Guff (also known as Gog and Magog) swing a mallet at a bell, atop which sits an owl.
Athena was chosen for the Herald's clock not because she signifies wisdom or war, but because she's often accompanied by an owl. The younger James Gordon Bennett adored owls, as Harper's Weekly noted in 1893:
Even the Herald's masthead sported an owl. The cornice of the Herald Building was ringed with owls whose eyes blinked an eerie green through the New York nights. After the Herald Building was demolished in 1921 and a new architectural setting created for Athena and her henchmen, two of the owls were positioned on either side of it. Look for their blinking eyes after night falls.
Behind the Memorial is a small door with yet another owl, and the phrase "La nuit porte conseil" - "The night offers counsel," or "Sleep on it."