There's a little show I used to watch as a young girl, whenever I could catch it on tv. This show was an enormous influence on my formative years. It was called Beauty and the Beast, and in the show, the classic story had been moved to the kingdom of New York City. Catherine, the lovely beauty, worked for the district attorney, while Vincent, her beast, lived below the city in tunnels and caves carved out by the subway and by the ages before there were ever subways. The tunnels acted as a sanctuary for those the city left behind...the poor, the neglected.
This television show was my first exposure to the idea that fairy tales and magic might not just belong in story books, but might also belong in our modern world. I was utterly transfixed at the tender age of 10 or so by the world below. A few years ago, the series came out on DVD, and I found myself just as enchanted.
The world down below was one full of wonders and beauties:
My favorite room, however, was Vincent's own bedroom. Cozy and romantic, it perfectly encapsulated the idea of a mythically inspired space.
Catherine Chandler's New York City apartment is quite dated in style when you watch the show now. But Vincent's room, and the rest of the Down Below, are just as stunning today as they were when the show aired.
Filled with timeless treasures, it might be a matter of skepticism that these societal outcasts could afford such relics. But really, it's not that surprising to imagine that in a city like New York, with a network of helpers, these people could have amassed a collection so beautiful from the things others tossed away.
I especially love this old reliquary image in the library chambers:
Books, books, everywhere...piled up, stacked around, exploding off of the shelves. It's not hard to see where Vincent discovered his passion for the written word.
Mouse's chamber in the caverns is a lovely combination of tech inventions and medieval gothic.
Many thanks to the pages of the Classical Alliance of Beauty and the Beast for all of these images.