“The Businessman” gargoyle by Constantine Seferlis depicts a man on the move, with a large nose, sideburns and long, flowing hair. In his right hand, he grasps his briefcase. He hangs from a tree limb that bears dollar signs, signifying financial risk-taking. The only direction Seferlis was given was to incorporate the honoree’s large nose. This gargoyle was carved between 1975-76.
This gargoyle represents a Cathedral benefactor who was a well known lawyer, businessman and advocate. As the Cathedral neared completion in the 1980s, the carving became known informally as “the Yuppie” to reflect the flash-and-cash ethos of the era.
The Businessman is one of 112 gargoyles and grotesques across the Cathedral, which act as water spouts to divert water away from the building. Gargoyles carry away excess water via pipe running through their mouths; grotesques deflect rainwater by bouncing it off the top of their heads, noses or other fanciful body parts. They are often (but not always) carved in the form of fantastic or imaginary animals or humans.