Monday 7 May 2012

Art Deco in Manhattan

New York is the art deco lover's dream come true and no wonder, given the building boom in the 1930s carried out by the surplus labour that was available during the Depression!

One Fifth Avenue, overlooking Washington Square

built in 1929,

27 floors.

I can't identify the magnificent building in the middle. We saw it as we were walking along Canal Street, meant to take a better photograph, meant to go near and get a closer look, but got distracted...

500 Fifth Avenue, built in 1930, architects: Shreve, Lamb and Harmon who also built the Empire State building

60 storeys.

The interior is lush, luxurious and opulent

with incredible attention to detail

very typical of the period

look at those walls!

absolutely magnificent.

The French Building, 551 Fifth Avenue

one of the lifts


a combination of Art Deco and Middle Eastern imagery

Still on Fifth Avenue

Radio City Music Hall, 'art deco's true shrine', critic Paul Goldbert called it. The only way to see the interior, the regal staircase, the world's largest chandeliers as well as the extravagantly scalloped shell shaped auditorium is to take a tour, and tours are not our thing.

as seen from Central Park - don't know anything about this one - it is aound Central Park West and 86th Street -, but isn't it majestic?

and another view.

Madison Avenue, just before the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The General Elctric Building, 570 Lexington Avenue, designed by Cross and Cross.

The octagonal brick-clad tower rises 50 storeys from a rounded corner. Multi-coloured brickwork and terra cotta, carved red marble detail and silver-nickel ornamentation.

Originally known as the RCA building


This is a side entrance that houses an Indian restaurant


detail of entrance door


the main entrance

through the doors

and now we are inside the lobby

the vaulted ceiling of aluminium plating with sunburst motifs, walls of light pink marble

the elevator doors


the mail box


the clock above those doors


detail of the floor


The entrance to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at 301 Lexington Avenue.

Last but not least, my favourite, the Chrysler building 405 Lexington Avenue, built in 1930, home to the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s.

This is the best I could do to captrure what it looks like from the ground (furthest on the left)

The building is recognised for its terraced crown.


It is composed of seven radiating terraced arches and the stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern with many triangular vaulted windows.

(photograph taken by Ken from top of Empire State Building)


a closer look

the corner ornamentation on the 31st floor, of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps

the ornamentation on the 61st floor, of eagles

those radiator caps again


At the entrance, looking up

the entrance

and a closer look

and through the doors we go

the lobby, once a car showroom, is the only area we were allowed in

magnificent doors


the second entrance

another door


the lifts with their magnificent inlaid-wood designs

the African marble walls

detail: the ceiling showing a study of airplanes, machines and the builders who worked on the tower.


  1. Great post. A real feast of Art Deco! The Chrysler building is one of my favourites. Hope to get to see it myself one day.

  2. Isn't the two towered building near Central Park the Dakota building...or does it just look similar?

  3. Your comment made me smile greatacre, because this is exactly how I felt while walking around New York: 'what a feast of Art Deco', 'not another Art Deco building'. It was fantastic. Thinking back on it though, I think we neglected modernist buildings and this is a regret - there is so much to do, and even though 10 days felt like it might be plenty, in actual fact, it was not.

    1. I've felt the same, but with respect to Art Nouveau buildings, in Brussels, Budapest and Helsinki. There are so many but if you're an enthusiast you do'nt tire of them at all.


    2. No, you don't tire of them Mick, it is sheer delight!

  4. There is a two towered building on 72nd Street, opposite the Dakota Avril and you are probably thinking of that one. The Dakota was built in the 1880s and is not very high, eight floors I think.

  5. It's wonderful seeing it all again