Art Deco Society of New York News


2016 Annual Meeting Message from the President


ESB1It is my honor to welcome you to the 35th Annual Meeting of the Art Deco Society of New York and our celebration of the 85th birthday of New York’s Art Deco beacon to the world, the Empire State Building.

Welcome to all our members, distinguished panelists and special guests including Thomas Durels, Executive Vice President of Empire State Realty Trust who will be accepting our first ADSNY Icon award.

I would like to begin by thanking Cooper Union for its hospitality tonight and for its generosity throughout the year in making this wonderful space of the Rose Auditorium available to us.

This is ADSNY’s 35tth year and what a stellar year it’s been!

The number of members and our Jazz Age Order young professionals continues to grow; our website received more than 130,000 visits this year from people in more than 150 countries; we regularly reach over 10,000 people through our social media; a recent Facebook posting received more than 13,000 views in a single day.

Our website is now a trusted source for New Yorkers and those around the world.  It provides information about our events, preservation alerts, our New York Map and Registry, and our Documenting Deco educational program. Our website also lists Art Deco books, Distinguished Deco dealers, Vintage Deco furniture and decorative objects at great discounts for our members and much more.

BT6In the past year the Art Deco Society of New York presented 29 events. Activities included illustrated lectures and book talks, bus and walking tours, private visits to members’ homes to see stunning Deco collections, cocktails and social evenings in Deco spaces,  preservation and educational activities, and collaborations with museums and other cultural organizations. Last fall, a dozen of our members travelled to Shanghai to participate in the World Congress on Art Deco.

I would like to give special thanks to Board members Jared Goss, Chair of our Lecture & Book Talks Committee and Tony Robins, Chair of our Tour Committee as well as volunteer Jill Fishbin for the team’s hard work in planning and managing all of ADSNY’s diverse events. We always welcome member suggestions, volunteer help and support for our talks and tours so please send us your ideas and let us know how you would like to help.

This year we also presented special events for our Golden Circle members as well as our Patrons and Benefactors, whose financial support is so crucial to our growth. We are especially excited that our most generous donors have been invited to Paris later this month for a special tour hosted by the Paris Art Deco Society. Many thanks to our Patrons and thanks to Board member Andrew Berger, for arranging special Patron events throughout the year.

Designing HomeOur Jazz Age Order of young professionals 20-35, continues to grow and participated in a number of special events under the leadership of ADSNY Secretary and JAO Committee chair Richard Lowe. He and Meghan, dressed in Deco finery, once again hosted our booth at the Governor’s Island Jazz Age Lawn Party.

The Art Deco Society of New York now plays a much more active and visible role in preservation. We mobilized our members and the Coney Island community in an campaign to gain landmark status for Irwin Chanin’s Coney Island Pumping Station. Thanks to so many of you who signed our online petition, wrote letters, and joined us to present testimony before the Landmarks Preservation Commission. As a result of your efforts, ADSNY recently received the prestigious Historic District Council’s 2016 Grassroots Preservation Award.

BT10Our campaign continues, working with the Coney Island community to find a way to reuse this important Chanin building so that it eventually does gain landmark status. We will continue to make our voices heard so that future generations will be able to enjoy our city’s great Art Deco heritage. Thanks to Lisa Easton, Chair of our Preservation Committee, and Merryl Kafka of the Coney island community, for leading our recent Pumping Station efforts. We need the help of all of our members in preserving our Deco heritage so please contact Lisa to find out how you can join in this and other preservation efforts.
Educating future generations is one of our important missions and so, it is especially exciting that in its second year, our school program, Documenting Deco, expanded to five area schools in three boroughs. Over 2,000 photos were submitted by students to our Documenting Deco photography contest.

JOA ESB walkWe received a $1,250 grant from the Puffin Foundation that was matched by one of our donors to allow us to purchase cameras for students to use to Document Deco around their schools and their neighborhoods. The program concluded with Meghan and I leading 42 middle school students on a walking tour of midtown Deco icons and a visit to the top of the Empire State building the day after its 85th birthday.

The American Institute of Architects adapted our program for elementary school students in their spring student workshop and parents reported their children were pointing out art deco buildings to them. Special thanks to Education Committee Chair Carol Millsom and the designer of Documenting Deco, Judith Spokony, for their work with our educational activities.

We have requests from other schools that have heard about Documenting Deco and want their students to participate. But without additional funds or volunteers, we won’t be able to do this. If you would like to sponsor a school or volunteer your time, please let us know. We need your help to expand this important free program to more students.
Our New York Art Deco Registry and Map, under the leadership of ADSNY vice president Stephen Van Dyk also continues to grow. Charles Hovanic, an intern last summer from Columbia’s school of historic preservation, funded by one of our donors, worked on the Registry and through his efforts added many more buildings.

By the end of this summer the Registry, which is only two years old, will contain more than 300 buildings with Art Deco façades and interiors. These buildings are sortable in a number of ways, such as by type of building, borough, neighborhood or architect, so anyone can use this resource to create Wash Heightsself guided Art Deco walking tours.

If you’ve not checked it recently you will see how much it’s grown.  But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as there are so many more buildings to be discovered and added. YOU can help build this valuable resource by either funding an intern or conduct your own research to find or expand entries—and you can do this from the comfort of your own home. We are happy to share the online resources that you can access and use in your search.

Rita Jakobowski, who Chairs our Membership Committee, is always eager to hear from you to learn more about your specific Deco interests and how we can best serve your needs. Also, special thanks to Bess Rosenfeld for keeping our membership updated. Rita can use more dedicated volunteers like Bess to help in our membership recruitment, outreach and retention activities. So if you can lend a hand, please let Rita know.

You can contact each Committee Chairperson by emailing to
The Art Deco Society is a volunteer organization, with only one paid employee. Our success is only possible because of the efforts of our volunteers. Whether you can give us one hour a week of your time or ten, we invite you to join with like-minded, talented volunteers who share your Deco interests.  We also need your financial support.  Membership dues and admission fees don’t cover our costs.  If there is a program that you think worthy and important, please donate to that program as a one time or as a recurring monthly donation to ensure that program continues. You do make the difference. Each of you.

DSC_0105Speaking of people who make a difference, I am especially delighted to announce that because of the enormous effort of a team of volunteers, tonight is the launch of the premiere issue of Art Deco New York, our new semi annual Journal on Art Deco in our city and around the globe.

This ambitious publication is the work of our members and volunteers, Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, our editorial advisor, and Susan Klein, our graphic designer. Kathleen and Susan, worked very hard for many months to make this publication a reality.

Also, thanks to Sandi Tansky, Peter Singer, and Alma Kadragic, our meticulous proofreaders, and the Spiegel Company and another donor who paid for printing of this first issue. Without all of the help of these volunteers and sponsors, the magazine would not have been possible. We hope to publish Art Deco New York in June and December each year, if we can find advertisers and other financial support. So, please help us to achieve this goal. If you know of potential advertisers or would like to donate to this effort please let us know.

Our Communications Chair, Devon Caraher, assists with our monthly Deco Doings e-newsletter, and the emails that keep you alerted to our many activities. Devon can use your help in the design and execution of our communications and social media outreach.

I would also like to thank Susan Monagle, ADSNY’s Treasurer, for contributing her professional expertise in all financial matters. We thank her for donating so much of her professional time to us.

One person to whom we owe our profound thanks is not here this evening. Many of you know that Michael Smith, one of our long time supporters and champions passed away in April after a short illness. We mourn his loss and will find a suitable way to honor his memory in the future.

Everything we achieved during the last 12 months was due to the support of our volunteers, our dedicated active Board of Directors, and our Donors.

Only with their help and yours can we be a respected, quality, vibrant organization. We have come a long way but we need your skills, your time and your financial support to continue to grow and thrive.

One last request. ADSNY needs an office. So if you know of any donated office space I would personally be very appreciative.

Before I close, I want to thank Meghan Weatherby, our multi-talented, creative and hard working Director of Operations. I can not begin to tell you how many hats our one paid staff member wears.

Thanks to all of you for your trust and your help in working with me throughout the year to achieve our shared goal of having the Art Deco Society of New York play an increasingly visible and vital role in the greatest Art Deco city in the world.

Have a wonderful summer!

Warm regards,



Remembering Michael Smith
By Roberta Nusim

The Art Deco Society of New York lost a dear friend and trusted Advisory Board member, Michael J. Smith, in early April after a brief illness.

Many ADSNY members were introduced to Michael over the years through his Soho store, Depression Modern, a pioneering venture that opened in the late 1970s. Depression Modern was renowned for its rich selection of 1930s Art Deco furnishings.  More recently, we knew Michael as the co-owner of Adelaide in the West Village, a store showcasing exceptional furniture, design objects, and artworks spanning the 1930s to the 1960s.

Michael was a man of impeccable taste with an extraordinary eye for style and design. His passion for and his knowledge of American Art Deco and Streamline design were legendary.

Although he was famous for attracting hordes of avid collectors who lined up in front of Depression Modern every Saturday morning to be the first to see and snatch up his new inventory, there were just as many regulars who would stop by solely for a chance to spend time with him. Whether or not they bought anything, Michael always welcomed the opportunity to visit with new and old friends. As one ADSNY member observed, “at times the shop felt more like a friendship store. Whenever we needed a dose of friendship we could just drop in and leave feeling happy.” Michael was always caring, always giving, always open to enthusiastically sharing his ideas, resources, and great sense of humor.  Many ADSNY members live in homes surrounded by beautiful period treasures found and lovingly restored by Michael to give lasting beauty to their lives.

As a trusted and generous advisor to ADSNY, Michael was happy to share his vast knowledge and make introductions.  He encouraged his clients to become ADSNY members and set up stunning displays for ADSNY at the Pier and Big Flea Antique Shows. Whatever other demands on his time, he always made ADSNY a priority. Understanding our perpetual need to raise funds, Michael was constantly contributing from his vast library and his decor inventory.

We will work hard to honor Michael’s commitment to ADSNY and keep his legacy alive. We hope to institute  an annual spring Decorative Arts and Design Lecture in his memory.


Letter from the President,
Presented at the 2014 – 2015 Annual Meeting

It has been another stellar year for ADSNY! Our membership now exceeds 600, our new Young Deco Friends Group has over 200 new members, our website has over 10,000 hits each month and has been accessed by over 125 different countries. We reach close to 5,000 people on Facebook and Instagram and have a robust Twitter following of over 1,000 followers..

Our 25 events this past season offered our members a variety of activities, from sold-out illustrated lectures, to bus and walking tours exploring the city’s Art Deco masterpieces, to private visits to member’s homes to see stellar Deco collections, to cocktails and social evenings in Deco spaces, to preservation and educational activities and collaborations with museums and other cultural organizations.

ADSNY has been an active participant in the prestigious Landmarks50 Alliance and commemorated the April 19th, 2015 fiftieth anniversary of the NY Landmarks Preservation Law with our memorial five borough tour of Deco Landmarks.

Our New York Art Deco Registry continues to grow with over 200 buildings with Art Deco façades or interiors and we launched our first school outreach program, Documenting Deco, inviting students in area schools to discover and document Deco gems in their neighborhoods.

Thanks to our active Board of Directors, our dedicated volunteers and your support, ADSNY is poised to play an increasingly visible, more vital role in this, the greatest Art Deco City in the World.

Kind Deco Regards,
Roberta Nusim
President of The Art Deco Society of New York


Have you seen this billboard celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the
New York City Landmarks Preservation Law?


Artist Peter Tunney utilized images of many landmarked buildings featured in the book “Landmarks of New York City: An Illustrated Record of the City’s Historic Buildings,” by Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, to create the billboard that is visible traveling south on the Van Wyck Expressway en route to JFK.

We are SO excited to “Honor our past, imagine our future,” as a member of the Landmarks50 Alliance and hope you will also celebrate the law that preserves NYC Deco treasures (as well as other styles) with us.

The message “HONOR OUR PAST, IMAGINE OUR FUTURE” is featured to engage, inform, and educate the public about the importance of the Landmarks Preservation Law and encourage them to participate in the many events that celebrate the law.


About our upcoming Winter/Spring Season

Landmarks 50As a proud member of the NYC Landmarks50 Alliance, the Art Deco Society of New York is joining the citywide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Law with several related events. Please visit our events page to learn more about these special opportunities so you can join in the festivities!


 Check this out

Art Deco Society of New York President, Roberta Nusim was recently featured in a blog article on the U.S Antiques show website!

See the article below:

Rediscovering the Glamour of Art Deco
by Mary Curtis


Many people may only be familiar with Art Deco through the famous blockbuster film The Great Gatsby or the architecture of such buildings as the Empire State Building or Radio City Music Hall in New York City. However, the Art Deco period is more than just speakeasy celebrations, geometric lines, flappers and decorative sculptures, it’s a historical period that brought on immense change in the U.S. in 20s and 30s with new ideas that affected many areas of design and culture.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Roberta Nusim, president of the Art Deco Society of New York, about the influence of Art Deco on American culture as well as how her group is working to cultivate enthusiasm of this era in Generation Y.

ART-DECO-SCARF“Art Deco was at its peak of popularity in the 20s and 30s between the two World Wars,” says Nusim. “It started in Paris after World War I when the French government decided to hold a worldwide exhibition of the decorative arts called Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes. It was a wonderful exhibition where people in the arts and design industry came from all over the world to exhibit.” This event epitomized what came to be known decades later as Art Deco, a modern style characterized by a streamlined classicism, geometric and symmetric compositions, which by the 1930s led to a sleek machine-age look.

“Although the U.S. didn’t participate in the French exposition, many Americans were in attendance and returned to the states with new design ideas and materials to export to back home.” Nusim continues, “Everyone felt the opportunities were limitless and our design should reflect that feeling. This is when the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center were designed and constructed. There was also great sense of excitement that affected many different markets such as fashion, literature, home décor, industrial design, and music. It was a very glamorous time.”

The Art Deco style was used widely in consumer products such as automobiles, furniture, cookware, china, textiles, jewelry, clocks, and electronic items such as radios and telephones. During the 30s, Art Deco was used extensively for public works projects, railway stations, ocean liners (including the Île de FranceQueen Mary, and Normandie), movie palaces, and amusement parks.

“When World War II hit, it made a real impact on how people viewed the world, causing Art Deco to decline in popularity. People’s lifestyles changed to become more sensible and streamlined. The decorative aspects of the 20s and 30s were frowned upon and it was perceived by some as inappropriately luxurious,” says Nusim.

020899.31-photo-by-Tom-Hollyman-ppt1-200x300In the late 70s to early 80s, a resurgence in Art Deco came specifically because of Miami Beach. South Beach has a large collection of Art Deco buildings, with some thirty blocks of hotels and apartment houses dating from the 20s to the 30s. “After World War II, many of these buildings were ignored and eventually fell into disrepair. So when the bulldozers came to tear them down, a women named Barbara Baer Capitman protested to save them. From her actions, the buildings were, over time, restored to their former glory.” In 1979, the Miami Beach Architectural District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearly all the buildings have been restored and painted in their original pastel colors.

Through Capitman’s measures, a renewed interest in the 20s and 30s spread throughout the U.S. and people started looking at preserving Art Deco buildings. This also introduced the need for Art Deco Societies around the country. In 1976, Capitman organized the Miami Design Preservation League, which is the oldest Art Deco Society in the world.

16299_707023166032700_6932206404684993821_n-225x300“The Art Deco Society of New York was started in 1982,” says Nusim. “We preserve, protect and celebrate New York’s Art Deco treasures. Our members enjoy activities that embrace the many aspects of Art Deco. These include educational events, such as lectures and walking tours, and celebratory events like speakeasy parties. We also document the buildings that were constructed during the Art Deco period in all of the five boroughs of New York.”

The Art Deco Society of New York has several new initiatives for 2015 for their membership as well as to attract a younger audience. “We have a brand new website filled with resources, such as our Art Deco Building Registry and Map, which documents buildings in all of the five boroughs. We also have a list of dealers from around the country that specialize in Art Deco merchandise and a list of books on various topics about the Art Deco period.”

Another aspect the organization is steadily growing is their involvement in preservation “We mobilize attention to endangered Art Deco buildings in the city and help guide the residents in restoration of the buildings to their original grandeur.”

In addition, the Art Deco Society is committed to engaging young people and educating them about this period. “We started Young Deco Friends last year and have over 250 members today, under 35 years old. We also introduced a social media initiative. Today, we reach over 6,000 Deco enthusiasts in 90 countries around the world who visit our website more than 250 times each day. We have more than 3,400 likes on Facebook and almost 900 followers on Twitter since its launch in January 2014.”

To view the article on their website click here


Curbed NY loves Deco!

In a recent article Curbed NY features the beautiful Deco home of ADSNY members, Johan and Dia Scholvinck. If you think the stunning images look familiar, it may be because last Valentines Day they were kind enough to host the annual Valentines Gala at their wonderful home!

See the article below:

The Totality of This Tribeca Home Is an Homage to Art Deco

Monday, October 13, 2014 —By Evan Bindelglass, all photographs by Evan Bindelglass


artdeco_evanbindelglass_20141012_56.jpg[Johan and Dia Scholvinck.]

It features a nearly 17-foot-tall first floor, which holds the living room, dining room, kitchen, just one of the home’s skylights, and the powder room (which is actually a full bathroom, not a half). The second floor, which overlooks the first floor and has afittingly patterned railing, has two bedrooms. The master bedroom has a double sink and a toilet and the second bedroom has a single sink and toilet, but the two share a connecting shower. The master bedroom also has a spiral staircase leading to the penthouse suite they completed about two years ago. The main home is about 2,000 square feet with 800 feet of penthouse and some terrace space.


In 1979, Johan, a Dutchman, was working in New York while Dia, a French national who grew up in what was then Southern Rhodesia, a British colony in Africa, was working for the United Nations in Geneva. She was in New York to work on the General Assembly and a mutual friend introduced them. The rest, as they say, is history.

Right now, their son and his family are living up in the penthouse (which is actually modern in design, not Art Deco). However, they hope to reclaim the space in the not-too-distant future and rent out the Art Deco residence. So, keep an eye on the real estate listings: you could live there one day.

You can view the entire article with all the images here.




Michael Love, past President of ADSNY, died in New Orleans on June 20th of natural causes at the age of 89.

Ms. Love was born in 1925 into a world of flappers, Prohibition, the race to build the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Charles Lindberg’s flight over the ocean and the disastrous events of the Great Depression and the Hindenburg…all happening in her own backyard.  It was a hard-knock beginning if ever there was one.  Referencing those difficult days, Ms. Love once observed that despite hard economic realities, “even the destitute, lining up at soup kitchens, were well dressed: men in jackets and ties, women with hats and gloves…not like today.”

As bootleggers and speakeasy owners, her family moved around as circumstances demanded, eventually settling on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

She did her schoolwork at the bar of her father’s club, listening to the rehearsals of the torch singers, crooners, and jazz bands that performed there.  The music of the 1930’s, ‘40’s and ‘50’s would always be playing somewhere in the background of her life: the ring tone on her cell phone was Alley Cat!

Graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a strong portfolio of designs, influenced no doubt by the glamorous clothes she would have seen her mother wear as a club singer as well as on the denizens of her father’s club, she was told when interviewing on Seventh Avenue that her ideas were “too advanced” to be marketable.

Ms. Love learned to be self-reliant early, and it became one of the hallmarks of her life. Turning lemons into lemonade, she changed directions and made the pivotal decision to enter the world of interior design.

Initially choosing to specialize in kitchen design, Ms. Love attended the University of Miami where she learned to draw, draft and assimilate the basics of proportion and scale: skills that would serve her well.

Ms. Love’s style leaned toward an eclectic, contemporary sensibility.  Going out on her own in the late 1960’s, she founded Quantum Design Group, an interior decorators, designers and consultant company which grew to become an extensive residential interior design practice encompassing the design and renovation of homes throughout the US and Europe.

Her crowning moment of glory arrived in 1970 when she was hired to design and oversee the installation of all of the public spaces in The World Trade Center towers. Love’s involvement was a watershed: for construction, for women and for the times.

Later, as the owner and creative influence behind Interior Options, located for many years in the New York Design Center, Love provided high-end design and decoration services to a broad-based clientele. She lectured to designers and consumers alike, continuously and at various venues.

She served as president of the New York Chapter of the Art Deco Society in 1984.

In more recent years Love continued to trend with the times.  Giving up her long time, terraced pied-a-terre she moved to Sunnyside, Queens and joined the hipster generation that was drawing fashion and design to the outer boroughs.  She enjoyed being around young people, where “things” were happening.

Michael Pearl Love entered Tulane Medical Center on Thursday, June 19th with a mild heart attack that registered no damage.  While in ICU, under observation, she passed away overnight -quietly in her sleep- from slowing heart rhythms.

To those that knew her, this was the only time Michael Love slowed down in 89 years.

She will be missed by generations of interior designers, architects, professional organizations, students, friends, clients…and the spaces that she impacted.

She is survived by her daughters, Michelle E. Love of Meraux, LA and Pamela G. Love of Los Angeles, CA.

A private family service will be held in New Orleans followed by an Invitation-Only memorial in New York City on July 30th.  Donations in Ms. Love’s memory may be made to the Education Legacy Fund (ELF), 1040 First Avenue, Box 324, NY NY 10022.




Dear ADSNY Friends,

It was my great honor to welcome over 150 members of ADSNY to the 33rd Annual Meeting of The Art Deco Society of New York at New York’s beautiful Temple Emanu-El on Wednesday night, June 11th.

Thanks to the generosity of Mark Heutlinger, the Administrator of Temple Emanu-El, ADSNY members were treated to a very special evening. In addition to our Annual meeting and election of Directors and Officers for the 2014-15 year, architectural historian Kathleen Skolnik gave us an insightful illustrated talk about the Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meiere. 

It was a perfect location since Temple Emanu-El’s sanctuary is the setting of one of Ms. Meiere’s stunning masterpieces. Members also had the opportunity to meet the curator of the Temple’s museum and tour the collection and see the restoration of the Art Deco building. The evening ended with a gala wine reception and a chance for ADSNY members to catch up with their Deco friends.

Many thanks to Mark and Kathleen for a truly memorable evening. And, many thanks to each of you, our members, for your generous support this past year.

What an exciting Deco year it’s been, as we’ve worked to redefine our mission for the 21st century!

2013-14 Highlights
In this past year, we’ve seen a significant growth in our membership, in our financial viability, in our recognition by the preservation and educational communities and in our media presence.

Our membership has more than tripled! We have an exceptionally high rate of membership renewal and many new members have joined our ranks.

The Young Deco Friends Group, which we launched last August, has more than 150 new Deco members in their 20s and 30s. These Young Deco Friends will be the custodians of our city’s Art Deco future and we warmly welcome them. 

You have all seen our beautiful new logo and our new website, which has been getting rave reviews.

We have a robust Facebook presence with over 2,000 friends and hundreds of new followers on Twitter. I have even learned to Tweet!

Our new website gives you an easy way to register for all of our events, and keeps you up to date about all of our activities. It also hosts our Building Registry with an interactive 

map, which is a comprehensive source of Art Deco buildings in all the five boroughs. Nothing like this has ever existed before, so I am especially proud of our Registry Project and believe it is one of our most significant achievements of the past year.

In addition to the Registry, we’ve been very busy with our programming. Since last September we’ve presented 22 diverse-and mostly sold-out programs. In addition to our walking and bus tours, we offered curator-guided museum exhibitions, illustrated lectures by leading Deco authorities, author talks on new Deco books, social gatherings in Deco settings. Also, several of our members have hosted us in their spectacular homes and shared with us their Deco collections and passion.

Important New York cultural institutions, including The Beaux Arts Society, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York, have welcomed us for special joint programs. 

We had our first Donor event this past spring as a special thank you to show our appreciation to members who generously supported ADSNY’s year-end campaign and we plan to have similar Donor thank you events in the coming season. 

The 2014-2015 Season Preview
As we build on this transformational year, I want to share with you some exciting plans for the upcoming 2014 – 2015 season. 

Our goal is to offer you two events each month. One will be a midweek evening lecture or book talk, the other a weekend activity such as a walking, bus or museum tour. We will again host social gatherings in Deco settings and we will offer unique opportunities to see the special collections of our Deco members. We will have a presence at events such as the Pier Shows and the Jazz Age Governor’s Island Weekends and Open House New York. 

Museums in the city have been very generous to us this past year collaborating with us on individual events. And I am delighted to announce that the Museum of the City of New York and ADSNY will present a special series of joint events for our members in the new season.

April 2015 is the 50th Anniversary of the NYC Landmarks Law and ADSNY has been invited to be part of the prestigious group of organizations working together to celebrate the passage of this very important law, which has protected many of our favorite Deco icons.

We are now in the planning stages for several unique events around this 50th anniversary so keep your April calendars open. 

In addition to these events, in the coming season we will play a more visible and active role in preservation and education, which are both important parts of our mission. We will partner with educational institutions to present a lecture series, work with interns, and reach out to the public schools. We are planning to resume publishing the Modernist, as well as offering events with other Art Deco Societies around the country. Our members will be invited to participate in the Art Deco World Congress that will take place in Shanghai in early November 2015.

Looking even further ahead, we are setting a very ambitious goal, but one that we believe we can make a reality in the coming year, the creation of the New York Art Deco Center in our city. 

But, back to the present.

Summer Events

In August 2014 we are having a very special fun day in which I hope you will all participate. Working together with the folks at Open House New York, we are holding ADSNY’s first ever Citywide Art Deco Scavenger Hunt. So mark your calendars for Saturday, August 9th. Invite your families and friends to be part of your team to solve the clues and identify Deco icons in Manhattan and the boroughs. It will be a great day with great prizes.

And our Young Deco friends will have a busy summer quenching their thirst for Deco. Many of you saw last month’s fabulous NY Times article, “Where the Password is Deco,” we were quoted on Art Deco watering holes throughout the city.

Now our Young Deco Friends will get their own Deco Password to check out these Deco clubs. Starting later this month, and most Thursday evenings throughout the summer, Young Deco Friends will be given that week’s Secret Password for entry to one of the Deco bars featured in the article where they will meet up with other ADSNY Young Friends for special Deco cocktails and more. 

We are also renting a booth at the Governor’s Island Jazz Age weekends, so please stop by if you are there and say hello.

September Events
You can also now sign up on our website for our first two events of the fall season. On Thursday, September 18th we are presenting a talk about Art Deco Radios, the Most Beautiful Radios Ever Made and on Sunday, September 28th, Tony Robins, will lead us on a special members-only bus tour of Art Deco Queens, to see its many Deco gems.

Future Events
Other fall events include Frank Prail’s talk about his firm’s spectacular recent restoration of the lobby of the Empire State Building. The fascinating story of the restoration is like an Indiana Jones adventure.

We will also start a Destination Deco series of trips outside of New York. Our first Destination Deco will be a day trip to Philadelphia where we will tour the city’s Deco charms.

This fall we will also have a talk about Art Deco Shanghai, in advance of the World Congress there, a Deco Secrets of the Museum of the City of New York, a talk by New York’s master Deco story-teller David Garrard Lowe, a visit to a member’s spectacular Deco collection, a special Deco fall fashion shopping night and of course much more.

Our Board
Since we rely on the efforts of our Board and volunteers to make all this happen, I want to thank our 2013-14 Board of Directors: Andrew Berger, Budd Goldman, Daniel Lonergan, Richard Lowe, and Stephen Van Dyk for their vision, wisdom and support.

And I want to welcome ADSNY’s Board of Directors for the 2014-15 year, Andrew Berger, Alan Gettner, Budd Goldman, Richard Lowe, Stephen Van Dyk and myself, and our Officers: Vice-President: Stephen Van Dyk; Treasurer: Budd Goldman: Secretary: Richard Lowe. Thank you for giving me the honor of continuing to serve as your President for the coming year.

Our Volunteers
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to our team of volunteers for the countless hours they devote to making possible all that we do: Bess Rosenfeld, our Membership Director, Jill Fishbin, our Events Manager, Jewel Walker, our Young Deco Friends Coordinator, Susan Monagle, for managing our Finances, Sandi Tansky for help in event planning, and Alex Disbrow, for being our ambassador to other Art Deco societies around the world.  

If you have time, please contact us to volunteer. We need your help!

Our Intern
Special thanks too, to our intern, Meghan Wetherby, who has just received her Master’s Degree from Parsons in Decorative Arts and Design, specializing in Art Deco. Meghan has done such a wonderful job for us that I am delighted to announce that we won’t be losing her. Through the generous support of members of our Board of Directors, Meghan will be able to continue to work with us in the coming year.

Thanks to each of you, our members, for being a vital part of the Art Deco Society of New York. I welcome the many new members who have joined this year and look forward to all of you participating in what is going to be a very exciting 2014-2015 Deco Season. 

Warm Deco Regards,
Roberta Nusim
The Art Deco Society of New York


ADSNY’s Featured Exhibition:
Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s

The 1930s — a time of great privation — were paradoxically a time of great style. This spring, Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum at FIT is celebrating that style with its exhibition Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s. These are the clothes that sashayed through Art Deco settings when the paint was barely dry, and on March 18, 30 ADSNY members, some wearing cloche hats or fox collars, basked in their glamour.


Led by curators Patricia Mears and G. Bruce Boyer, they toured two galleries filled with artifacts: Paris couture and qi pao’s from Shanghai; a coat fit for a king (Umberto II of Italy) and a culotte suit fit for a working woman; a smoking jacket, skiwear and wool swimsuits. There’s an ivory jumpsuit with matching hood from 1939, designed to take an aviatrix from the plane to the country club. There are multiple hommages to basic black (including a fetching Chanel), eye-popping reds and luscious peach. Not to mention zigzag pumps in green and gold from Perugia of Paris, and eight pairs of Fred Astaire’s dance shoes, court shoes, oxfords and wingtips.

As might be expected, the glory of exhibition, drawn from FIT’s collection and loans, is the dazzling evening wear for women. But viewers should not overlook the many examples of bespoke menswear,  including a jacket from the Duke of Windsor’s wardrobe. Describing the exhibition’s range, Mears, the museum’s deputy director, said, “I don’t think we’ll get another chance to see this.”

“Come for the objects if nothing else,” she added, noting that each item has a story — and a backstory, of which she shared many with ADSNY members.

Choosing a standout is no easy task. Is it the red hunting tailcoat from 1937, or the bugle-beaded evening gown with capelet by Adrian of Hollywood for Joan Crawford, ruby slippers for the body? Is it the swirl dress that suggests Ginger Rogers’s in “Cheek to Cheek,” minus the feathers? Charles James’s tweed coat for a woman, with its deep V-back? The pinstriped Balenciaga day dress with its modest fitted bodice and voluminous skirt? The 1937 bridal gown, worn only once, with its flowing train?

Or is the most important piece on view, as Boyer proposed, the 1935 Anderson & Sheppard tweed golf suit  with plus-fours? Tweeds for men were “the great leveler,” he said. Lest we think ’30s fashion was only for the leisure class, Elegance in an Age of Crisis reminds viewers that fashion can be egalitarian. A ruffled dress Crawford dress wore onscreen was reproduced by the thousands and sold for $1.29.

If you missed the tour, don’t miss the exhibition, with his-and-hers videos by Andrew Yamato running on a continuous loop. March 26 might be a good time: that evening, a new generation of the House of Rubinacci, billed as “the most important and famous practitioner of the art of tailoring in the world,” will join Boyer in conversation at FIT. (Registration:

Diane Nottle

“Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s,” through April 19 at the Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, Manhattan;



ADSNY’s Featured Deco Book of the Month:
The Art Deco Poster

By William W. Crouse, with an Introduction by Alastair Duncan.
New York: The Vendome Press, 2013.


This splendid book about early twentieth century posters from between the world wars includes reproductions of over 300 examples from the collection of the author, William Crouse. The posters included are iconic Art Deco graphics, primarily European and American, but with examples from five continents.  The medium of poster art, joining image and text, has been a powerful promotional tool designed to persuade and sell products.  Organized thematically, these posters comprise nearly the full range of possible subjects—specifically: aviation; automobiles and motorcycles; consumer and industrial products; leisure; fashion and entertainment; motor racing; food, beverage, and tobacco; ocean liners; railways; and travel and tourism–excluding only movie posters, political posters, and Russian works.

With a brief introduction by Art Deco scholar Alastair Duncan and a short “Note on Poster Collecting” by the author, there are brief essays on each theme, followed by lengthy captions for each of the posters.  The essays focus as much on the history and development of the product or industry represented as on the posters themselves.  Most of the posters are reproduced on full oversize pages, and the deco style of foil printing on the book’s cover is impressive.  Accompanying some of the poster reproductions, there are selective comparison photographs which provide further context.  For example, one especially interesting example is an aerial photograph from a US Navy blimp of the Trylon, Perisphere, and surrounding buildings at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  A select bibliography and informative index are included.

The strength of The Art Deco Poster are the high-quality, distinctive, beautifully reproduced graphics that illustrate the collector’s passion for the modernist, Art Deco style along with informative, detailed extended captions that accompany each item.   The book also provides useful essays on Art Deco era industries, events, consumption, and lifestyles that both inspired and were reflected in poster art production. The book focuses on individual posters rather being an overview or a comprehensive history of posters of the era.  It is a visual delight, is informative and also a good read appropriate to all interested in Art Deco and poster art.  At the same time, The Art Deco Poster  gives the reader an insight into the taste and industries of this fascinating, machine-age era.

Stephen H. Van Dyk
Head Art Department Smithsonian Libraries

Though the bibliography at the end lists publications specifically about art deco posters and includes no other books as comprehensive as this one, because The Art Deco Poster presents minimal historical background with limited text, a definitive volume remains to be published on Art Deco posters.




A Note From The President

Dear Deco Friends,

It has been a busy few months since I became President of ADSNY. With the help of an active Board of Directors, a group of dedicated volunteers and Daniel Lonergan, our hard-working Vice-President, we are off to a remarkable start!

We have tripled our membership, including launching a Young Deco Friends initiative and now have 133 new Young Deco Friends under the age of 40! We have had a series of sold out events including our Deco; Art of Glamour film, the Bronx Bus Tour, home tours during Open House New York weekend of two of our members, our All Shook Up cocktail shaker evening and our Deco Midtown Walking tour.  Go to our Facebook page for photos from recent events.

In addition to our wonderful activities we have raised the awareness of ADSNY through our Facebook page and Website and with the New York press (our Manhattan Deco Open House apartment was featured in both Time Out NY and the New York Times) and with the preservation and architectural community.

We have been invited to participate in Landmarks50 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the NY Landmarks law and have formed partnerships with other organizations concerned with preservation and education.

And, we are pleased to announce our New York Art Deco Registry Project, an ambitious long-term project to document less known residential and commercial buildings in the five boroughs with Art Deco facades or lobbies and make them available on our website so wherever you may be you will be able to find nearby examples of the Deco style. Let us know if you would like to volunteer to become involved in this valuable project here.

More about this and other exciting projects soon.


Warm regards,

Roberta Nusim
The Art Deco Society of New York


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