New York City is by no means a place with a unified architectural style, and that’s one of the things that makes it so darn beautiful. But some of the city’s most iconic structures do share a common theme: Art Deco design, found in the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, to name just two.
In his book New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture, forthcoming from SUNY Press on June 1, Anthony W. Robins defines the fluid style that’s given character to some of the city’s most beloved structures: “It is flowery and it is zigzag; it is intimate and it is monolithic; it is abstract and it is figurative; it is Roaring Twenties Extravagant and it is Depression-era cheap.”
What all does that boil down to? Below, we’ve mapped some of the city’s most notable buildings exemplifying the architectural style. Did we miss your favorite here, or on our map of less lauded Art Deco gems? As always, let us know in the comments.
1. 1 Wall Street
Ralph Walker’s limestone-clad 1 Wall Street is an Art Deco beauty inside and out. The 50-story building was constructed during the same years as the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, and it was originally occupied by the Irving Trust Company. It features setbacks characteristic of Art Deco, as well as vertical designs etched along the faceted facade, but the interiors are what truly make 1 Wall Street special. The building’s soaring double-height lobby on Wall Street, the bank’s original reception room, is a stunning space designed by Hildreth Meiere. Known as the Red Room, it’s covered with a mosaic of red, gold, and orange tiles that were made in Berlin. On the 49th floor, an observation room occupies “a gaspingly high space,” as the Times says, with vaulted ceilings covered with shells from the Philippines. The building is currently undergoing a residential conversion at the hands of developer Harry Macklowe.
4. The Walker Tower
Before it was Walker Tower, home to many a celebrity and high net worth individual, this glorious 23-story building was a central hub for Verizon, storing copper wire that made the telecommunications company run. The building was constructed in 1929 and designed by Ralph Walker, named architect of the century by the New York Times in 1957. No surprise here, JDS and Property Markets Group’s condo conversion takes its name from the lauded architect.