On the facade of a financial services firm, the meaning of the squirrels seems clear: Gather ye nuts while ye may. But the significance of the peafowl — these look to be mirror-image males, not a peacock and peahen — is more problematic.
Peafowl have been considered symbols of resurrection and immortality, of knowledge (in light of the "eyes" on the fanned-out feathers of the male), and pride, among many other attributes. The ostentatious pride credited to the peacock, however, which may have seemed apt for finance types during the Roaring '20s, when this building was conceived and built, doesn't fly today. Then, too, it might have been better if those squirrels weren't nibbling on the job.
Farmers' Loan and Trust Company Building
471-477 Fifth Ave. (at 41st St.), New York