Scroll down to view some of our past events
Wednesday, February 7, from 6:15 to 9:00 p.m.
With the Manhattan skyline glittering beyond the 21-foot arched windows of this unique, glamorous setting, ADSNY members and their guests took a step back in time to an age of style, jazz, and opulence as they enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in what just might be New York’s largest living room, The Penthouse at One Hundred Barclay. Transformed into an elegant ballroom, it was the setting as best-in-class dancers showcased premier examples of dances from the 1920s and 30s––the tango, Peabody, Charleston, rumba, foxtrot, with a dash of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for added indulgence.
Thursday, January 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
ADSNY members were taken on an exclusive guided tour at the Jewish Museum’s exhibition of approximately 150 rarely-seen paintings, sculptures, and drawings by celebrated early twentieth century artist Amedeo Modigliani. For many of these works, assembled for this exhibition from collections around the world, this was the first time they were seen in New York.
This evening tour highlighted how the artist articulated important period aesthetic principles and spotlighted Modigliani’s drawings in the context of the unprecedented artistic melting pot of Paris before and during the Jazz Age.
This tour also explored how Modigliani’s art incorporated the various multicultural influences prevalent in the design from the Art Deco movement—African, Greek, Egyptian, etc.—which inspired the young artist during this lesser-known early period.
This year’s annual holiday celebration took on a prohibition flare with the unlikely and fascinating story of how prohibition brought about 1920s Manhattan speakeasy and nightclub culture.
Told by Donald Miller, New York Times bestselling author and adviser to historical production for Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg, PBS and HBO, this engaging talk offered a glimpse into Manhattan’s Jazz Age speakeasy and nightclub scene. Filled with the colorful exploits of bootleggers and gangsters it presented a profile of characters including the notorious owner of Harlem’s Cotton Club, actress Texas Guinean, one of the first female proprietress of a New York Night Club, and Big Bill Dyer, the popular Manhattan saloon-keeper who brought professional hockey to Madison Square Garden.
The fun-filled evening concluded with a festive holiday reception featuring ADSNY’s special prohibition punch, holiday fare, and a book signing.
Lights, Camera, Deco! Film Series: Flying Down to Rio
Friday, December 1, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
ADSNY’s final film in the “Lights, Camera, Deco! Series co-sponsored by the Center for Applied Liberal Arts at the NYU School of Professional Studies featured “Flying Down to Rio”, first on-screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
In this 1933 musical romance, choreographer and musician Fred Ayers (Fred Astaire) helps his friend and band leader Roger Bond (Gene Raymond) romance the gorgeous Brazilian Belinda De Rezende (Dolores del Río). Along the way, Ayers and singer Honey Hale (Ginger Rogers) stage marvelous dance numbers and conspire to make sure the show goes on, including a breathtaking dance number on the exterior of a formation of airplanes flying overhead.
The pre- and post-film talks were led by Patricia Dillon, president of Putnam Art Advisors & Consultants, Inc.
Lights, Camera, Deco! Film Series: Metropolis
Friday, November 17, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Largely regarded as a pioneering work of science-fiction, this German expressionist drama is set in a futuristic urban dystopia that is aesthetically influenced by Bauhaus, Cubist, and Futurist design. In a 2026 futuristic city––sharply divided between wealthy industrialists who reign from high-rise towers and underground-dwellers who toil to operate the underground machines that power the city––the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working-class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Following the film Francis Morrone, New York City architectural historian and author, explored how the film’s distinctive set design relates to the Art Deco style.
This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Applied Liberal Arts at the NYU School of Professional Studies
Financial District Deco
Sunday, November 12, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Architectural historian and Art Deco expert, Tony Robins, led ADSNY members on an insightful tour of the Deco towers that have long made the fairytale skyline of Downtown Manhattan a symbol of the world’s first modern metropolis.
On this tour ADSNY members visited more than a dozen stunning buildings that range from iconic skyscrapers to smaller but equally stylish Deco structures tucked between the towers of the Financial District.
Highlights included unrivaled skyscraper designs such as Ralph Walker’s Gothic Modern fantasy of the Irving Trust tower, now known as 1 Wall Street and his equally stunning, Art Deco-encrusted Cities Service headquarters, now known as 70 Pine. The tour also included stops at buildings designed by Ely Jacques Kahn, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, Louis Allen Abramson, and a pair of buildings by Starrett & Van Vleck.
Lights, Camera, Deco! Film Series: The Black Cat
Friday, October 27, from 6:15 to 8:45 p.m.
As a Halloween treat, our film series continued with the 1934 thriller, The Black Cat. As honeymooners Peter (David Manners) and Joan Allison (Julie Bishop) traveled to Hungary for their honeymoon, where their trip takes a frightful turn: They were forced to spend the night in the ominous modernistic mansion of Satan worshiper Hjalmar Poelzig (Boris Karloff). Only by joining forces with psychiatrist Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi) could they hope to save themselves.
Howard Mandelbaum and Eric Myers, authors of Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, introduced this stylish, striking film, pointing out how its Bauhaus design scheme was specifically used to reflect an atmosphere of encroaching evil.
It finally happened! Through the Exploring Deco In… column of the Art Deco New York Journal and a few of our bus tours, we’ve had a small taste of the stunning Art Deco architecture and design of Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood. But, on this tour, architectural historian Matt Postal led us on an in-depth feast exploring the many remarkable Art Deco buildings of the enclave that is Brighton Beach.
A closer examination into the interwar past of this neighborhood, on the Coney Island peninsula, showed it to be one of the city’s top destinations for Art Deco explorers. As we strolled through this Art Deco Mecca we discovered residential and commercial buildings that rival those found in the more well known Grand Concourse neighborhood in The Bronx.
Like it’s Bronx counterpart, Brighton Beach is filled with magnificent examples of the modern architectural vocabulary that we know today as Art Deco. Behind many of these beautifully preserved façades are even more stunning interior spaces that we will have a chance to visit.
Wednesday, October 18, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
In his presentation, Lowe offered a delightful glimpse into the chic and exciting period in London, when people voyaged on the Queen Mary to England and checked into Claridge’s or the moderne masterpiece, the Savoy. Lowe showed images of the massive BBC Broadcasting House and its stunning sculpture by Eric Gill as well as the jazzy Express building with its black glass façade. The presentation also include images of the New Victoria cinema where, on the silver screen, Jessie Matthews once sang and danced her way into the public’s heart and much more.
Lights, Camera, Deco! Film Series: Grand Hotel
Friday, October 13, from 6:15 – 8:45 p.m.
ADSNY members enjoyed an exclusive screening of the 1932 Academy Award winning drama, Grand Hotel. The film featured a group of very dissimilar individuals staying at a luxurious Berlin hotel who had to deal with their respective dramas. From a Russian ballerina (Greta Garbo) and a stenographer/aspiring model (Joan Crawford), to a WWI veteran (Lewis Stone) and destitute Baron (John Barrymore), this award winning drama was definitly a trip.
To make the evening even more enjoyable, film expert, Noah Eisenberg, introduced the film and explored how Art Deco influenced its wonderful aesthetic.
Lights, Camera, Deco! Film Series: Swing Time
Wednesday, September 27, from 6:15 – 8:45 p.m.
To kick of it’s film series, ADSNY hosted a special screening of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical, which many hail as their best–– Swing TIme. The film has sparkling direction and tunes by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, including the Oscar-winning The Way You Look Tonight. We admired how the evocation of New York nightlife is out of this world and the dance studio where Ginger teaches might be the sleekest workplace of the Thirties.
Howard Mandelbaum and Eric Myers, authors of Screen Deco: A Celebration of High Style in Hollywood, introduced the glamorous film and explored how Art Deco’s clean lines and geometric forms complemented glistening the black-and-white cinematography to create some of the silver screen’s most iconic images.
Free as Gods:
How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism
Wednesday, September 13, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
This special evening in the extraordinary space at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, explored how France’s expatriate community during the Jazz Age represented an extraordinary convergence of creative genius—one of the most glorious in history.
In this illustrated lecture, Charles A. Riley II, showed images of masterworks as well as rarely-seen and even unknown photographs from various archives to illuminate the artistic collaborations of a lucky rather than lost generation.
Riley explored how many of these famous individuals were audaciously trying media with which they had little experience. Writers and composers painted up a storm, artists turned into poets, and the theater and ballet, especially the Ballets Russes, gathered dream teams of talent. Hemingway was a connoisseur of contemporary art, Gershwin and E.E. Cummings exhibited their own paintings, Leger made films, Le Corbusier painted and photographed, Pound wrote an opera, and Picasso was spending more time backstage at the Ballets Russes than in his studio.
Selling World War I in New York
Saturday, August 12, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Historian and curator Donald Albrecht led us through his latest exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. We learned about how New York City’s artists and illustrators enlisted in the war effort as part of the federal government’s new Division of Pictorial Publicity and saw many posters created by individuals who would later become some of the most notable graphic designers and illustrators of the 1920s and 30s. As we explored the exhibition, Albrecht explained how the outpouring of posters, flyers, magazine art, sheet music covers, and other mass-produced images created by these designers and artists stirred the American public to wartime loyalty, duty, and sacrifice.
The tour included over 60 examples from the World War I poster collection of railroad executive and financier John W. Campbell, most of which were being exhibited for the first time.
The History of Fragrance Panel Discussion
Wednesday, August 2, from 6:00 – 7:30
We explored the history of fragrance and become inspired by the Art Deco era in New York City at this informal panel discussion between Fragrance Expert and New York Times perfume critic, Chandler Burr and the co-hosts of Fat Mascara–an award winning weekly beauty podcast–Marie Claire Executive Beauty & Health Editor, Jennifer Goldstein and Teen Vogue Beauty & Health Director, Jessica Matlin.
Bay Ridge Art Deco Walking Tour
Saturday, July 15, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
On this special tour, ADSNY partnered with Victoria Hofmo, founder of the Bay Ridge Conservancy, and Kelly Carroll of the Historic Districts Council, to explore the significant architecture and Art Deco splendors of Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood.
Like many neighborhoods with wonderful Art Deco apartment houses, Bay Ridge’s development exploded at the turn of the 20th century due to access improvements in trolley, elevated railroad, and eventually subway service. Bay Ridge’s built environment appears much the same today as it did nearly a century ago. The remarkable architecture of this area is significantly intact and includes stately Art Deco and 1920s-30s apartment buildings, with original and ornate lobbies.
Additional stops highlighted the area’s vast history and included uniform row house blocks, historic wood frame farmhouses, Victorian mansions, and magnificent places of worship.
ADSNY’s 36th Annual Meeting
ADSNY’S 2016-17 season ended on a high note on June 21st at this year’s Annual Meeting in the stunning landmarked lobby of the Barclay-Vesey Building. Architectural historian and author, Kathryn Holliday, delighted a packed audience with her enthralling, illustrated talk about Ralph Walker’s monumental telephone buildings, which are regarded as some of New York City’s most recognizable Art Deco skyscrapers.
In her engaging talk, Holliday explored the cultural developments in the 1920s that set the stage for Ralph Walker’s pioneering telephone building designs. We learned about the significance of the architecture created for Bell Telephone in New York and across the nation and how the gatekeepers of infrastructure and design worked together to create a golden age of telephone buildings in the 1920s. The evening began with an invitational wine reception for ADSNY Supporting Level members in one of the highly styled new luxury residences where they had a chance to see dramatic views from the 25th? floor. The evening included a recap by ADSNY’s President, Roberta Nusim, of the many successful initiatives of the past year and closed with a wine reception, allowing ADSNY members time to gather and experience the stunning details of this landmarked lobby.
Tony Robins led us on a walking tour of the fabulous Art Deco treasures on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. As we explored the Upper East Side we saw, tucked among the Beaux-Arts town houses and sedate neo-Georgian apartment buildings, the neighborhood’s remarkable examples by some of the best architects.
We saw an apartment house by Raymond Hood (built for the owner of the Daily News), one of Manhattan’s very few Art Deco town houses, the elegant Carlyle Hotel, and apartment houses by Sloan & Robertson, Horace Ginsberg. and George and Edward Blum.
New York Art Deco:
A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture
Thursday, May 25 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
ADSNY members had much to celebrate when Anthony W. Robins – who has led ADSNY’s walking tours since 1982 – finally put it all down on paper in New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture, the first guidebook solely devoted to New York City’s Deco treasures. ADSNY members met for a special evening when Robins presented an illustrated talk exploring the city’s hidden Deco gems.
The Chrysler Building, the Waldorf-Astoria, and Rockefeller Center–these are among the hundreds of Art Deco monuments that during the 1920s and ‘30s helped create the image of New York City as the world’s Modern Metropolis. HIs lecture looked at the great skyscrapers of architects Raymond Hood, William Van Alen, Ely Jacques Kahn and Ralph Walker, including the Daily News, Empire State, Irving Trust, General Electric, American Radiator, Barclay-Vesey and RCA Buildings and traced the adaptation of this “skyscraper style” in every other building type throughout the five boroughs.
A gala reception and book signing ended the celebratory evening where ADSNY members had an opportunity to socialize with members of Australian and New Zealand Deco Societies stopping in New York after the World Congress before heading home.
The Art of Glamour:
Special Screening and Michael J. Smith Award Ceremony
Friday, May 5th, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
ADSNY celebrated the life and legacy of its dear friend and trusted advisor, Michael J. Smith, the design pioneer who founded two landmark galleries in New York City specializing in American design from the 1920s-40s: Depression Modern and Adelaide.
This special evening honoring Michael featured a screening of the BBC documentary, Deco: The Art of Glamour, with interviews filmed in his trailblazing Soho gallery, Depression Modern. The captivating film tells the dynamic story of the most sumptuous architectural and design movement the world has ever known. We will explore fashion, film, photography, music and architecture while tracking the development of Art Deco–from its Roaring Twenties beginning in Paris to a high-spirited zenith that was abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War II.
The film follows the movement as it brought new levels of excitement to the pleasure palaces–the hotels, cocktail bars, cinemas, and ocean liners–that sprang up in the fast-changing world of the 1920s. Art Deco is shown as a liberating force and a global phenomenon that reached beyond the boundaries of the fine and decorative arts, evolving from a luxurious style for the rich and famous into a style for the masses.
This evening included the presentation of the first Michael J. Smith Art Deco Excellence Award to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum for their current exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s. The exhibition featured more than 400 works of Jazz Age design and highlights Michael’s specific interest in decorative arts and design ranging from furniture, books, barware, graphic design, and a wide range of industrial objects that explore the evolution of American taste during the 1920s.
The Michael J. Smith Art Deco Excellence Award honors those who contribute to the ongoing study and celebration of American design between the two world wars.
To honor his enduring contribution to advancing the style of the Jazz Age, ADSNY announced the launch of the Michael J. Smith Fund, established to promote the education and celebration of American Art Deco design.
The evening ended with a gala reception and champagne toast to Michael and allowed his friends and family and ADSNY members to gather, share stories and remember this unique New Yorker who enriched so many lives.
All proceeds from this evening benefited the Art Deco Society of New York’s Michael J. Smith Fund to promote education and celebration of American Art Deco design.
The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s Tours
Saturday, April 29, at 12:30
Monday, April 24, at 4:00
Through two separate tours ADSNY members had the opportunity to explore the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s exhibition — The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, with Cooper Hewitt curators Sarah D. Coffin and Emily M. Orr, and a knowledgable docent, who led us on an exclusive guided tour of the museum’s new exhibition. This stunning exhibition of than 400 works of Jazz Age design graced two floors of the museum’s galleries. The exhibition showcased wall coverings, textiles, books, barware, furniture, architectural renderings, luxurious jewels, graphic design, fashion, and a wide range of industrial objects that explore the evolution of American taste during the 1920s.
Always fresh and interesting, this bus tour of the fabulous Art Deco treasures of The Bronx was led by our own Tony Robins. Of all the boroughs beyond Manhattan, none can match the Bronx’s reputation as an Art Deco stronghold. Besides the many wonders on the Grand Concourse–notably its famous “fish building”–the tour included visits to The Park Plaza Apartments, the first Art Deco apartment house built in the Bronx, The Wagner Building and the Dollar Savings Bank at Fordham Road, The main Bronx post office, The Bronx County building, The Rainey Gates at the Bronx Zoo and Herman Ridder Jr. High School on Boston Road, a rare Art Deco public school building.
The afternoon included a private visit and reception in the splendidly restored Art Deco lobby of an ADSNY member’s stunning apartment building.
Illuminating the Jazz Age: Lighting of Caldwell & Company
Thursday, March 30, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
ADSNY members had an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the rarely seen stunning Art Deco design renderings from the New York–based lighting and metalwork firm E.F. Caldwell Co. Selections from this extraordinary archive, a valuable treasure in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Library, will be on view for this special evening only for ADSNY members.
The event was led by Meg Caldwell—a descendant of the Caldwell family—and Catherine Acosta, who has reviewed all 13,000 drawings of the collection. Together, with Stephen Van Dyk, head of the Smithsonian Design Museum, Acosta has identified 1,000 drawings that exemplify elements of Art Deco style. Premier examples of Art Deco were hand selected for this event, as well as Art Moderne and Machine Age designs.
Included were some of the firm’s most well recognized designs from Radio City Music Hall and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, as well as exquisite Art Deco commissions from Detroit, Chicago, and as far west as Portland, Oregon.
Several of the firm’s design drawings were previews of those featured in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, which opened on April 7, 2017.
Connoisseurship and Collecting:
Modernism of the Art Deco Era
Wednesday, March 1st, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Auctioneer, appraiser, and antiques dealer, Nick Dawes, Heritage Auctions’ Vice President of Special Collections offered an insightful talk at an exclusive, ADSNY members-only evening at Heritage Auctions. Dawes, the author of three books on decorative arts as well as a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, followed his talk with a private viewing featuring highlights from the upcoming twentieth century design auction, Through the Modernist Lens: A Distinctive Hollywood Collection of Art Deco and 20th Century Art. A wine reception concluded the evening.
ADSNY members gathered for one final evening at Peacock Alley in the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel just hours before the grand Art Deco interior spaces of the Waldorf closed for renovation for three years. To say goodbye, members reminisced and raised a glass for one final toast to the historic spaces before they closed and are restored to their original grandeur.
Valentine Soirée: An Ode to Hildreth Meiére
Monday, February 13th, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
This year’s annual Valentine Soirée explored the sumptuous beauty of the Art Deco works of Hildreth Meière on the anniversary of her 125th birthday. Author Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, lead us through the captivating works of Meière, in one of the talented artisan’s masterpieces – the glittering, main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El.
An unsung heroine of Art Deco art and architecture, Hildreth Meière, is the artist behind many of the most spectacular mural installations of the mid-20th century. The vibrant, dynamic roundels on the exterior of Radio City Music Hall, the shimmering glass mosaics and stained glass windows at St. Bartholomew’s Church, and the exceptional decoration at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis – all are the work of Meière. Meière is particularly known for her personal interpretation of Art Deco, which incorporates Byzantine, classical Greek, and Native American influences.
Following the talk, Mark H. Heutlinger, the Temple’s Administrator led members on a guided tour of the Temple’s Art Deco spaces. The evening closed, as should all birthday celebrations with a gala birthday cake with candles blown out by three generations of Hildreth’s descendants.
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture & Design
Thursday, January 19th, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
ADSNY members had the opportunity to take a private tour of the first U.S. exhibition focused on the renowned French designer and architect Pierre Chareau. Our knowledgeable guide offered context to many of the over 180 rarely seen works gathered together for the first time from major public and private collections. Works on display included furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, as well as original designs for the extraordinary Maison de Verre.
Chareau’s custom furniture and interiors were designed to balance the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with interior designs that were elegant, functional, and in sync with the requirements of modern life. His innovative furniture, veneered in rare woods with occasional touches of exotic materials, had clean profiles and movable parts that appealed to the sensibilities of progressive society.
The exhibition also featured artistic works from Chareau’s own collection, which highlighted his circle of influential patrons, as well as his personal relationships with some of the period’s leading artists. This tour also included works from Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst, in addition to the East Hampton home that Chareau designed for Robert Motherwell.
Sailing & Soaring into the Holidays:
Ocean Liners & Skyscrapers
Thursday, December 15th,
from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Our annual holiday event and festive reception this year featured an illustrated talk on two of our favorite Deco topics — skyscrapers and ocean liners!
Mr. Ocean Liner himself, Bill Miller, author of over 100 books about the great ocean liners, took us on a grand tour based upon one of his latest books, Sailing & Soaring.
From the beginning of the 20th century, there has been a distinct parallel between the great ocean liners and the tallest skyscrapers — the competition for size and prestige: The Singer Building & the Mauretania, the Woolworth Building & the Titanic, the Chrysler Building & the Ile de France, the Empire State Building & the Normandie, the World Trade Center & the QE2 — just to name but a few.
Miller’s lively talk led us through the fascinating connections between these feats of engineering in terms of design, endeavor and creative genius. It’s no coincidence that the rapid progress of the past hundred years has been marked by the increasing triumphs of both ocean liners and skyscrapers.
The evening ended with our festive holiday celebration with seasonal treats and refreshments as well as the release of our new issue of our Art Deco New York journal.
Repeal Day Gangster Tour
Tuesday, December 6th, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
What better way to honor the Jazz Age than to celebrate the end of the 18th amendment, which was repealed on December 5th, 1933! This unique tour shined a light on the role of bootleggers and gangsters in the 1920s and throughout U.S. history.
When the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect on January 17th, 1920, Prohibitionists thought the rambunctious, boisterous, and disorderly conduct that came along with bars and alcohol would come to a screeching halt. However they could not have predicted that the prohibition of alcohol would truly make the 20s roar. Drinking increased as respect for the law diminished and gangsters and bootleggers became rich and famous, while many politicians and law enforcement officers looked the other way.
Our Deco friends celebrated the 83rd anniversary of this historic event, as we were led on a private tour of the Museum of the American Gangster, located in a building that housed a once-notorious speakeasy.
Art Deco Ceramics: Craft & Collectability
Thursday, November 10th, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Authors and experts Judith Miller and Tom Folk, offered their views on how the clean lines and innovative techniques of Art Deco ceramics continue to excite collectors today, evoking the glamour and glitter of the inter-war years.
Judith Miller, author of more than 100 books on antique collecting, including her latest publication Art Deco: Living with the Art Deco Style, explored the key collecting areas of Art Deco ceramics and how designers decorated traditional ceramic forms such as vases and bowls with Art Deco patterning, while others created innovative shapes on which to base their modern decoration. Miller also highlighted how designers used the new aesthetic mode to depict motifs including the human form and classical themes in a modern graphic way.
Author and educator, Tom Folk, focused on celebrated ceramicist and sculptor Waylande Gregory and his involvement in the Cleveland School, while also exploring the craftsman’s growing collectability. His talk highlighted how Gregory’s groundbreaking techniques enabled him to create monumental ceramic sculpture, such as the 1939 New York World’s Fair Fountain of the Atom, as well as more of his revolutionary developments that lead to advancements in the field of ceramics sculpture.
For a special Halloween treat, Susan Olsen once again led ADSNY on a tour of Woodlawn Cemetery to see unique Deco design and hear the tales of famous Jazz Age personalities buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Built on rolling hills, Woodlawn’s tree-lined roads lead to some exceptional memorials and mausoleums some designed by famous American architects such as Ely Jacques Kahn.
Jersey City Art Deco Bus Tour
Saturday, October 22nd, from 1:00 – 5:00 pm
ADSNY members explored the wonderful Art Deco of Jersey City, New York City’s neighbor to the west. Jersey City has been in the spotlight for its rapid growth and development. Fortunately, there has also been an aggressive historic preservation movement to ensure that this development hasn’t erased the city’s storied history.
This afternoon bus tour highlighted a wide array of Art Deco architecture and design in Jersey City, including a variety of residential, commercial, and public buildings.
The tour culminated in a special in-depth tour of the Beacon apartments, a former complex of stunning Art Deco buildings that made up the Jersey City Medical Center. Over the past decade, the Beacon was restored and converted to luxury residences in what was the largest historic preservation tax credit project in the country.
Our afternoon concluded with a cocktail reception hosted by an ADSNY couple with a stunning Art Deco terrace at the Beacon apartment complex, which overlooks the Manhattan skyline
Brooklyn Heights & Downtown Brooklyn Walking Tour
Saturday, October 1st, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Many Brooklyn neighborhoods flourished during the 1920s and 30s and this special tour gave our members a chance to see examples of Brooklyn’s best Deco when architectural historian, Matt Postal, led us through previously unexplored areas of Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn.
Downtown Brooklyn boasts a surprising number of Art Deco delights. Our meandering route, which concluded in Brooklyn Heights, highlighted varied and often overlooked selections of commercial and residential works, including memorable designs by Ralph Walker, H.I. Feldman, Rene Chambellan, and Starrett & Van Vleck.
Dr. Bob Lurch invited ADSNY for an exclusive evening in his home to see his vast collection of extraordinary Bakelite objects. Our members heard from his curator, Julie Winsor, and Dr. Lurch about the history of his collection and about the role Bakelite played in American design. The event included a gala cocktail reception in his private garden as well as a talk exploring Bakelite and his collection.
Destination Deco: Long Island Bus Tour
Sunday, September 11th, from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
ADSNY members took all-day safari as exploring the wilds of Long Island looking for Art Deco. Though Nassau and Suffolk counties are known primarily for their suburban residential architecture, they also have town and city centers with commercial and government buildings dating from the late 1920s and early 1930s – and that means new Deco marvels for us to discover and enjoy.
Architectural historian, Tony Robins, led ADSNY on this special daylong bus trip that began with a visit to the Classic Car Club of Long Island’s annual car show featuring iconic automobiles of the 1920s and 30s.
From there we visited:
- The Nassau County Courthouse, part of an early 1930s “Modern Classic” government complex in Mineola.
- A handsome WPA-era post office in Hempstead, which is across the street from a fabulous early telephone company building by the same firm (Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker) that gave us the three great Deco behemoths of Lower Manhattan (and it includes marvelous ornamental tracery similar to that found on Ralph Walker’s seminal Barclay-Vesey building).
- An intact, 1928 Art Deco high school in Valley Stream, rivaling any of New York City’s (very few) Art Deco public school buildings where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Valley Stream and taken on a tour of the magnificent restoration of the building.
- Another splendid Deco post office, in Patchogue.
With such a busy day, lunch was a fast stop at the central pavilion – just opposite the central administration tower – of Robert Moses’s 1930s fabulously designed Jones Beach. Our afternoon continued with:
- A visit to a rarely seen set of WPA murals in a Hempstead firehouse.
- An exclusive tour of a stunning collection of spectacular classic cars that were produced from the 1920s to the 1940s.
- Our day concluded with a visit, behind-the-scenes tour, and wine reception at the beautifully restored and splendidly Deco, Suffolk Theatre in Riverhead, where we presented the first ADSNY Hero Award to Robert and Dianne Castaldi, the couple who single-handedly brought the theater back from the brink of destruction.
Algonquin Round Table Walking Tour
Thursday, August 4th
The Algonquin Round Table came alive in Kevin C. Fitzpatrick’s walking tour devoted to the famed literary group. The walk celebrated Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Harpo Marx, Edna Ferber, Franklin P. Adams, Heywood Broun, Harold Ross, Robert Sherwood, Marc Connelly and the rest of the Vicious Circle.
We started and ended at the landmark Algonquin Hotel and saw homes, haunts, and hangouts of the Vicious Circle of the 1920s. We also saw where The New Yorker magazine began, visited locations where speakeasies once stood, and walked in the footsteps of legendary wits. Tour goers also had the option of enjoying cocktails at the Algonquin Hotel.
Egyptomania at the Met
Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
For this extraordinary tour, two expert Egyptologists, Colleen and John Darnell, led ADSNY on an exclusive tour through the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s stunning collection of Egyptian treasures and artifacts.
Our guides discusses how items in the Met’s collection and the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by British Egyptologist Howard Carter and his patron George Herbert (the 5th Earl of Carnarvon) crystalized artistic and fashion trends, in which Egypt transitioned from being a source of increasingly common thematic borrowings in Art Nouveau, to becoming a prototype for an all-encompassing artistic tradition in the Art Deco era.
We learned how fascination with ancient Egypt – Egyptomania – has its roots in classical antiquity. In the past two thousand years, several periods have witnessed an efflorescence of Egyptian revival activity, including the Italian Renaissance, the Napoleonic Era, the mid-1800s, as well as the 1920s.
Through objects in the Met’s collection, our guides highlighted the overarching themes of Egyptian decoration that provided a model for many practitioners of the Art Deco style.
Egypt, of greater antiquity than Greece and Rome, wedded to an aspective art at odds with the perspective representations that had so dominated Western art since the Renaissance, was suddenly more relevant to a world of Cubists and Machine Age sculptors and manufacturers. Using the spectacular collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Egyptomania tour explored different aspects of ancient Egypt that were incorporated into Art Deco design and fashion.
More about our guides:
John Coleman Darnell is Professor of Egyptology at Yale University. He is a specialist in Egyptian religion – particularly cryptographic texts – and rock inscriptions. He is a pioneer of desert road archaeology, making several ground-breaking discoveries in the Eastern and Western Deserts of Egypt as director of the Theban Desert Road Survey and Elkab Desert Survey Project.
Colleen Manassa Darnell teaches art history at the University of Hartford and other institutions, and has published widely on ancient Egyptian history and literature, including the genre of historical fiction in ancient Egypt. As curator of the exhibition, “Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs” at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, she edited a catalog of Egyptian revival art.
ADSNY Annual Meeting
Empire State Building: 85 Years of a New York Icon
Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Current ADSNY members were invited to this very special celebration: the 85th anniversary of the Empire State Building, the heart of New York.
On June 9th, following a brief annual meeting from 6:00 – 6:30 pm, ADSNY hosted a lively panel discussion on the architectural and cultural history of the Empire State Building.
The notable panel included experts in the construction, landmarking and restoration of New York’s most emblematic building:
- John Tauranac is the author of The Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, which explores its construction.
- Tony Robins, former Deputy Director of Research and Director of Survey at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, wrote the LPC’s official designation reports for the building.
- Frank Prial, of the architecture firm Beyer Blinder & Belle, supervised the spectacular restoration of the lobby.
- Tony Hiss, the evening’s moderator, is a longtime writer for The New Yorker, and author of The Experience of Place: A New Way of Looking at and Dealing with Our Radically Changing Cities and Countryside.
Together, this engaging panel enlightened the audience on many of the most fascinating aspects of the Empire State Building, from its planning to the present day.
Following the panel discussion, ADSNY presented the first Icon Award to Empire State Realty Trust, in recognition of its ongoing stewardship of one of our most cherished Art Deco landmarks.
Discovering Chelsea Deco
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Matt Postal led us on an eye-opening tour through an area of Manhattan not typically recognized for its Deco gems. Many unsung Art Deco delights are found in this Midtown neigborhood. From Ely Jacques Kahn to Horace Ginsbern, Chelsea offers something for everyone, including apartment houses, loft buildings, and even a stylish parking garage.
Highlights of this evening tour with architectural historian Matt Postal included the High School of Fashion Industries, a former telephone switching station built by the New York Telephone Company, and Ralph Walker’s monumental Salvation Army Centennial Memorial Temple.
How Art, Fashion, Technology & Globalism Defined Art Deco Jewelry
Thursday, May 19th, 2016
This special talk presented by Benjamin Macklowe, the President of Macklowe Gallery, explored the period between the First and Second World Wars — a time of radical change in modern life. Art, fashion, and broadened international communications all played key roles in defining the styles and tastes of the era that was most famously dominated by the geometric lines and striking simplicity of the Art Deco movement. In this lecture, Mr. Macklowe offered an in depth look at jewelry from the late 1910s to the late 1930s by exploring how different facets of the era came together to define a crucial moment in design history.
Washington Heights Deco Walking Tour
Sunday, May 15th, 2016
High up on a hill, its streets lined with modest but attractive six-story Art Deco apartment houses, Washington Heights has more in common with West Bronx neighborhoods just across the Harlem River than with the rest of Manhattan. Many of the same architects who worked on the Grand Concourse also designed apartment buildings on or near Fort Washington Avenue – we will see work by Horace Ginsbern, Jacob Felson, Israel Crausman, Miller & Goldhammer, Charles Kreymborg, and H. Herbert Lillien.
Two taller apartment buildings, by Boak & Paris, offer a more idiosyncratic take on the modernism of the 1930s. Our walk included a one-story taxpayer, and one of the city’s few frankly Deco subway entrances. But the star attraction was the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist (now the Hebrew Tabernacle of Washington Heights), one of perhaps a dozen or so Art Deco houses of worship anywhere in the city.
On this walking tour, architectural historian Tony Robins, led us through the beauty of Art Deco in Washington Heights. The tour included visits to two interiors: the sanctuary of the Hebrew Tabernacle, and the lobby of 250 Cabrini Boulevard, one of the two Boak & Paris buildings.
A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Designer, philanthropist, art collector, and ADSNY member, Carolyn Hsu-Balcer, invited ADSNY members to celebrate the glamour of Jazz Age culture in her Sutton area home to see her stunning collection of Art Deco cigarette holders. The evening focused on the beauty and social history of Jazz Age cigarette holders and as explored in the new publication, A Token of Elegance: Cigarette Holders in Vogue, which features her collection.
Rebecca McNamara and Hsu-Balcer led us through the development of this modern, neatly configured and packaged smoking device that, “attracted women to luxuriate in smoky reveries.” We explored how holders became a handy theatrical prop for business and political interactions as much as a fashionable branding tool of social sophistication among celebrities and within elite circles.
This event gave us the opportunity to see exquisite examples from Hsu-Balcer’s 400-plus-piece collection. We explored objects ranging from pieces made by leading international jewelers including, Boucheron, Cartier, Fabergé, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels; to a holder once owned by Princess Margaret; to holders made as promotional give-aways at fashionable New York City nightclubs; made of gold, silver, ivory and encrusted with jewels; from China, England, France, Japan, Russia, Thailand, the United States and elsewhere.
This event included a wine reception, h’ors d’oeuvres, and a book signing.
Upper West Side:
Broadway & Riverside Drive
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
Tony Robins lead us on a walk across the upper west tracts of the Upper West Side, from West 85th to 103rd streets, Broadway to Riverside Drive.
We saw stunning works by such stalwart Manhattan Deco icons as Sugarman & Berger, Boak & Paris, and Harvey Wiley Corbett, as well as architects less well known for their Deco productions, including Emery Roth and Rosario Candela. Highlights included Roth’s Normandy Apartments and Corbett’s Master Apartments; the Broadway Fashion Building – four-stories of commercial space in a Moderne glass box; Boak & Paris’s Midtown (now Metro) Theater; and one of Manhattan’s last surviving Horn & Hardart automat buildings, with splendid Art Deco terra-cotta.
The Invention of Chic: Thérèse Bonney and Paris Moderne
Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Lisa Kolosek led us through the visual splendors of the Smithsonian National Design Library’s little-known archives of photographer Thérèse Bonney, which comprehensively illustrates the modern movement in Paris between the wars. This special event gave us the opportunity to see a selection of stunning photographs that have rarely been seen since the 1930s.
We learned that Bonney was one of many bright young Americans drawn to Paris in the 1920s. After all, this was an exciting moment in design: French Art Deco, still at its height, was increasingly being challenged by the more austere aesthetics of Modernism. She was enthralled not only by commercial and decorative arts but also by fashion and beauty. Bonney photographed department stores and beauty salons, posters and packaging, restaurants and nightclubs. Her works exemplify the period’s emphasis on line, texture and sparing, highly graphic decoration.
We viewed wide range of Bonney’s work, images that provided us a glimpse into the cultural capital of Jazz Age Paris. Dazzlingly well connected, Bonney’s photos read like a who’s-who of Art Deco and Moderne icons, from Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, to Jean Dunand, Le Corbusier and more.
Inside Radio City:
Exploring the Deco Genius of Donald Deskey
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
On this special behind-the-scenes look at America’s Art Deco showplace, Radio City Music Hall an Art Deco specialist led us through the innovative mind of pioneer industrial and interior designer Donald Deskey. We learned all about Deskey, America’s foremost exponent of Art Deco, who won the commission of a lifetime when he created an elaborate portfolio that so impressed the visionary developers of Radio City, that he was hired above more famous and established designers.
We viewed Deskey’s original 1932 furnishings that have been stunningly restored and adorn the beautiful public areas, lounges, and private spaces of the Music Hall. In addition to Deskey’s creations, we saw that many of the lounges also showcase significant works by prominent artists such as Stuart Davis, Henry Billings, and Eduard Buk Ulreich.
On this members-only tour, we had the rare opportunity to step inside the Roxy Suite, one of the few remaining spaces designed entirely by Donald Deskey that is still completely intact. As we entered the private apartment of one of Radio City’s original creators, Samuel Lionel “Roxy” Rothafel, we were transported back in time and experienced the magnificent setting shared by Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Judy Garland, Vincente Minnelli, and many more.
Landmark Interiors: New York Deco
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Judith Gura, a design historian, author and New York School of Interior Design faculty member, shared her insights on some of New York’s splendid Art Deco interior landmarks from her new book, Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York, co-authored with Kate Wood.
Her talk focused on the significance of public interiors as the spaces in which we conduct our daily lives. Judith pointed out the challenges and controversies in maintaining the integrity of these spaces in the face of changing needs and popular taste, success stories, and the importance of keeping our landmarked interiors accessible to the public.
Valentine’s Soirée with Lalique Splendor
Thursday, February 11th, 2016
We celebrated the most romantic holiday of the year in one of New York’s most lavish, seldom seen Art Deco interiors – the stunning Lalique Interiors Showroom.
As our members stepped off the elevator this sumptuous space literally took their breath away. Like the luxury of René Lalique’s designs, this space transcends the passing of time.
This was an unforgettable evening of flowing cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, romantic music, tasty sweets and lots of surprises in this spectacular setting!
Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars
Sunday, January 24th, 2016
ADSNY members enjoyed this curated tour of the first major museum exhibition devoted to the work of one of the most celebrated American authors of the twentieth century – Ernest Hemingway.
This tour gave us a glimpse into Hemingway’s creative process as we viewed inscribed copies of his books, personal photographs, multiple drafts of his earliest short stories, notebooks, heavily revised manuscripts, typescripts of his major novels, and much more. We’ll also heard stories of his legendary circle of expatriate writers in 1920s Paris, including Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Beach. Our guide, Dede Kessler, also shared little known tales about Hemingway’s private life, the works that influenced him and his relationships with some of the leading figures of the Jazz Age.
Deco Secrets of the Brooklyn Museum
Thursday, January 21st, 2016
We all have our secrets! This event gave ADSNY members a special opportunity to uncover the Art Deco secrets of the Brooklyn Museum.
Curator Barry R. Harwood took us on an enthralling exploration of works in the museum’s Decorative Arts and Design collection, in which discovered many delightful surprises. From Jean Dunand’s abstract geometric lacquer panel featured in the Weil-Worgelt Study, to Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann’s famous corner cabinet, we experienced magnificent Deco treasures on this tour.
Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
Sunday, January 10th, 2016
On this guided exhibition tour ADSNY members enjoyed Archibald Motley’s vivacious, bold, and highly original paintings that chronicle American life during the Jazz Age. His work became popular in the early days of the Harlem Renaissance, the cultural flowering of African American art, music, and literature.
On this private curated tour, ADSNY members learned how Motley created a far more daring visual language than many of his contemporaries, fusing vivid narratives with dizzying spatial distortion and jarring hues to produce striking settings for characters of diverse racial backgrounds and social classes. Although his portrayals range from serene and august portraits to abrasive or outrageous caricatures, all were his instruments for addressing the poignancy, folly, and complexity of modern life.
Chrysler Building: Holiday Celebration for a New York Icon
Thursday, December 17th, 2015
For our annual holiday event we celebrated the 85th anniversary of the jewel in the crown of New York City’s skyline – the Chrysler Building. Author David Stravitz discussed how the 77-story Art Deco skyscraper–the tallest in the world at the time it was finished–quickly became the symbol of big city glamour, excitement, and style. Its cloud-piercing spire and gleaming, steel-clad ornament depicting gargoyles, hubcaps, and the winged helmets of Mercury came to represent the thrill of the Machine Age at its most exuberant.
Surprisingly, this magnificent building was one of the least documented and studied until author David Stravitz discovered a box of negatives on the floor of a defunct stock photo company, just days before they were to be shipped off for silver reclamation. The never-before-seen photographs, reproduced as sumptuous duotones in this talk, illustrate the day-by-day construction of this American icon in exquisite detail.
After David’s captivating illustrated talk, we enjoyed a festive holiday celebration with seasonal treats and refreshments. For those of you who asked about the
Everyone raved about the special vodka punch served at the reception and many asked for the recipe. So we want to share the recipe with all of you to try for your own holiday festivities!
You will need:
– 1 bottles of vodka
– 4 cups cranberry juice
– 1 32 oz cans pineapple juice
– 2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 2 cups sugar
– 4 cups water
– 1 2-liter bottles ginger ale
– 24 oz. frozen strawberries
Combine together all of the ingredients except the ginger ale and strawberries and place them in the refrigerator. Just before serving, stir in ginger ale and strawberries. Serve and enjoy!
ADSNY Donor Circle & Supporting Level Members
Inside Chrisite’s Art Deco Masterpieces Auction
Sunday, December 10, 2015
To thank our Donors Circle and Supporting Level Members for their valued support, we invited them for a special curated tour of An Important Collection of Art Deco Masterpieces.
Simon Andrews, the London-based Senior Decorative Arts executive of Christie’s, once again lead us on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of luxurious Art Deco treasures prior to their December 17th auction.
Growing Up Deco: A Daughter Talks about her Mom’s Collection
Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
All current ADSNY members and their FREE guest were invited to our first Art Deco Collector’s Event of the season in Leonard Bernstein’s former penthouse residence, overlooking the Midtown skyline.
This evening focused on the spectacular collection, of artist and illustrator Corinne Davidov, who launched The Coda Collection at the Marche aux Puces, in Paris, with her purchase of Pierre Turin’s bronze medallion commemorating the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs. Viewers saw how the visual world of Jazz Age Paris, city of Picasso, Matisse, Josephine Baker, Coco Chanel and the Ballets Russes, became the focal points of her collection, reflecting the spirit of the period, elegant and streamlined, colorful and witty, bold and modern.
Co-author of The Bakelite Jewelry Book, Davidov sought out extraordinary pieces of decorative arts and design ranging from unique bakelite jewelry to beautiful art glass, Art Deco and Nouveau furniture as well as wonderful Deco and Nouveau lighting.
At this event, her daughter, Karen Davidov, in conversation with Adam Harrison Levy, discussed how collecting evokes memory, enhances our senses, and connects the past with the present. A wine and cheese reception followed the discussion, and included an opportunity to win some of Corinne’s stunning pieces to add to your own collection.
Superheroes in Gotham
Friday, November 20th, 2015
Since their introduction in the 1930s, superheroes have been powerful role models, inspirational and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they reflect, respond to, and offer ways to navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Comic books are a great American art form, a cultural phenomenon born in New York City that now extends around the globe.
Superheroes in Gotham told the story of the birth of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from the page into radio, television, and film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega event known as New York Comic Con; and the ways in which comic book superheroes, created in the 1930s through the 1960s, have inspired and influenced the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters.
Chicago: The Glory of Deco
Monday, November 9th, 2015
David Gerrard Lowe gave this special talk focusing on Chicago’s rich architectural history and its relationship to the New York Deco skyline.
In the 1880s, Chicago’s first skyscrapers, Romanesque in style, lifted their heads into the clouds. But after the First World War a new modern aesthetic swept the Windy City. This richly illustrated lecture gave a virtual tour of the monuments of the Deco decades including masterpieces such as John Wellborn Root’s incandescent Diana Court; Purcell, Feick, and Elmslie’s Viennese-inspired Edison Phonograph Shop; and Andrew Rebori’s elegant glass brick accented Fisher Apartments.
Young Collectors Home Invasion
Saturday, November 7th, 2015
The afternoon was full of celebration with cocktails, snacks, raffles, good friends and good music.
Jazz Age Order members, Jessica Dickstein and Mark Dolgonos, invited their fellow Jazz Age Order members into their Brooklyn home to celebrate the new Jazz Age Order name in style! On this special afternoon they gave us a tour of their growing Deco collection, Mark did a martini making demo for all to enjoy, they talked about the pieces that sparked their Deco interest, shared the inside scoop on unearthing great deals and much more.
Woodlawn Cemetery Halloween Tour
Saturday, October 24th, 2015
For a special Halloween treat, we toured Woodlawn Cemetery to see unique Art Deco designs and hear the tales of famous Jazz Age icons that will forever reside in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Built on rolling hills, Woodlawn’s tree-lined roads lead to some exceptional memorials and mausoleums of a variety of architectural styles some designed by famous American architects such as Ely Jacques Kahn.
Brooklyn Deco Bus Tour
Sunday, October 4th, 2015
We’ve done the Bronx, and we’ve done Queens, which could mean just one thing: it was time for a Brooklyn bus tour!
Once a separate city, today New York’s most populous borough, Brooklyn flourished mightily during the 1920s and ‘30s. On this bus tour we took in samples of the Brooklyn’s best Deco: apartment houses that rival the Bronx; a phone company headquarters by Ralph Walker that rivaled his lower Manhattan behemoths; a small but stunning skyscraper by one of the architects of Rockefeller Center; a department store, an elevated subway station and more.
Texas Deco: Modernistic Architecture in the Lone Star State
Thursday, October 1st, 2015
At this special talk we learned all about Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, which is not only one of the finest collections of Art Deco architecture in the country, but it is so much more: as the embodiment of Texan swagger, it is a testament to the Texanic task of creating a dazzling spectacle during the darkest days of the Great Depression.
In their illustrated lecture, Jim Parsons and David Bush introduced the audience to how Texas utilized Deco architecture and design as a way to quickly update its image to a modern, prosperous state and virtually took us through Fair Park as a visitor might have experienced it in 1936, telling the stories behind the iconic designs that keep the “Magic City” a magical destination today.
The Glamour of Rockefeller Center
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
On this evening walking tour we were led through a wealth of visual delights by the spirited New Yorker, highly regarded cultural historian, and renowned Rockefeller Center tour guide, Sibyl McCormac Groff. Sibyl encouraged us to look up at the beauty of New York, while giving us the inside scoop on the secrets behind the glamorous walls and hidden spaces of one of New York’s great Deco icons.
On this tour we explored the beautiful Deco ornamentation of this ‘city within a city’ created for commerce but conceived with art in mind, heard about Rockefeller Center’s underground concourses, the world’s first artificial ice skating rink and so much more.
Great Gatsby Boat Tour
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
Members enjoyed drinks and treats as we cruised around the beautiful Manhasset Bay and Long Island sound, the area that ignited F. Scott Fitzgerald’s rich imagination and forged his timeless classic full of decadent glamour.
We sipped wine as we cruise past lavish homes and imagine where Gatsby’s mansion might have stood and exchanged stories of the Roaring Twenties. We learned about the many yacht clubs founded before the turn of the 20th century that still grace the harbor and continue Port Washington’s yachting tradition, as well as the homes of such legendary businessmen as Carl Fisher and John Hay Whitney, which stand as they did in the days of Prohibition.
East to West Midtown Deco Walking Tour
Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
On a nice summer evening Tony Robins lead us on a stroll from Midtown East and Midtown West, highlighting Deco treasures along the way.
This tour took in Deco marvels clustered along 57th and 59th Streets at the northern edge of Midtown. Buildings included the stylish emporia of Bloomingdales and Tiffany; the corporate headquarters of Squibb, Fuller, Hearst and 20th Century Fox; and luxury digs on Central Park South – Barbizon Plaza, Essex House and Hampshire House. Many New Yorkers and tourists alike view these buildings everyday. This tour allowed us to take the time to look at all the beautiful Deco façade details, tour the wonderfully maintained and restored lobbies, as well as learn why these buildings were so special.
Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Donald Albrecht lead us on a private curated tour of his latest exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. On this tour we explored the contribution of a remarkable group of Jewish émigré and American-born designers and architects. Albrecht discussed how this exhibition examines a bold new direction in design and thought that helped create a modern domestic landscape.
The exhibition includes vintage furnishings, housewares, and graphic designs by Anni Albers, George Nelson, Richard Neutra, Alvin Lustig, Saul Bass, Ernest Sohn, and more than 25 other individuals who helped forge this important movement.
Staying Alive: The Influence of Art Deco on
American Modernist Interiors
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
For the 2015 Annual Meeting Marilyn F. Friedman discussed the influence of French Art Deco on designers in the United States following the 1925 Paris Exhibition.
In this illustrated talk we followed the not so linear evolution of American modernist design. It zigged and zagged, with detours into variants given catchy names by hopeful marketers, including Classic Modern, Gracious Modern, Chinese Modern, Swedish Modern, and Enduring Modern.
During the late 1920s, American-born designers and European émigrés were heavily influenced by both the design elements and materials used in French Art Deco and Bauhaus production. As time went on, however, these designers developed their own design ideas. They meshed and modified European iterations of modernism and drew on ideas both within the United States and all over the world, but for many of them various elements of French Art Deco continued to have an impact.
In this lecture Friedman focused on the Art Deco-inspired interiors of the period. Among the designers to be discussed were Donald Deskey, Joseph Urban, Eliel Saarinen, Eugene Schoen, Eleanor LeMaire, Kem Weber, Russel Wright, Virginia Conner, and Gilbert Rohde.
Marilyn F. Friedman is a design and decorative arts historian who lectures widely on twentieth century interiors and decorative arts. She is the author of Selling Good Design: Promoting the Early Modern Interior, as well as several articles in journals and exhibition catalogs relating to American design between the wars.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
On this walking tour we joined architectural historian Matt Postal for an early evening stroll to consider a varied collection of Art Deco designs that illustrated how New York City prospered during the 1920s and transformed the narrow streets of Lower Manhattan.
As dusk fell, we discussed the financial district’s changing character and how such architectural gems, including the Cities Service Building and the American Stock Exchange, are currently being adapted to new uses.
ADSNY Donor Circle & Supporting Level Members
Inside Kelly Gallery
Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Stephen E. Kelly, owner of Kelly Gallery, hosted ADSNY Donors Circle and Supporting level members for a rare look at his extensive collection of museum quality decorative arts and design from the Art Deco period.
For the past 30 years, Dr. Kelly has been collecting rare and important works by renowned designers – such as Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Eileen Gray, Jean-Michel Frank, Jean Dunand, Eugѐne Printz, and Armand-Albert Rateau, to name a few.
The breadth and scope of this Art Deco collection extend further to a large array of decorative boxes, desk and vanity accessories, photograph frames, medals, walking sticks, shagreen objects and jewelry including an extensive selection of cufflinks. Additionally on offer is a finely curated selection of period Art Deco sterling silver flatware and hollowware. The inventory includes exquisite designs by French and continental designers such as Jean Puiforcat, Georg Jensen, Cardeilhac, Gustave Keller Frères, Wolfers Frères and Tétard Frères.
The gallery also presents a wide range of fine art including painting, prints, other works on paper, and sculpture. Prominent are modern and contemporary works by artists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Ross Bleckner, among others. Alongside are Art Deco period sculptures by artists such as Joseph Csaky and Jan & Joel Martel.
Masterpieces of French Art Deco
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Our members enjoyed this magical evening in the stunning Fifth Avenue Stanford White-designed Payne Whitney Mansion, now, the Cultural Services Center of the French Embassy. Here we celebrated French Art Deco design with world-renowned experts in a magical French setting. Jared Goss, formerly of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presented an illustrated talk focused on French Art Deco Decorative Arts and Design, with an introduction by Olivier Gabet, Director of Le Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris.
Jared Goss shared highlights from his book, French Art Deco, which examines selected pieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern design collection. By examining several of the most outstanding works, the author not only defined the characteristics of French Art Deco but also explained how to understand this fundamentally elitist style – which speaks as much to the eye as to the brain – and discussed its relevance in the present-day world.
50 Years of New York City Landmarks – A Private Curated Tour
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Curator Donald Albrecht took ADSNY members on an exclusive tour of his latest exhibition, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks. This exhibition was presented to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Landmarks Law in New York City.
Saving Place highlighted the importance of New York’s Landmarks Law in the rebirth of New York in the late 20th century. It fostered pride in neighborhoods and resulted in neighborhood preservation in every borough, connecting and motivating residents and bringing new economic life to older communities. It ensured that huge swaths of the city remain a rich complex of new and old and contributed to the creative re-use of countless buildings.
Grand Concourse Deco: A Bronx Spring Stroll
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
Bronx historian and expert, Sam Goodman, took us on a stroll up the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Together, we discovered the many Art Deco treasures that define development of this special boulevard.
Highlights of the afternoon include visits to numerous buildings, including Emory Roth’s only Bronx apartment house and the famous Fish Building. We also went to Jerome Avenue to explore two of the neighborhood’s most outstanding buildings, 1001 Jerome Avenue and the Park Plaza Apartments.
Sam offered the inside scoop of why this community developed and why it was considered so unique.
Art Deco Landmarks: Unlikely Battles and Great Successes
Sunday, April 19th, 2015
New York City boasts the world’s greatest collection of Art Deco architecture. In honor of the 50th anniversary of New York’s Landmarks law, ADSNY sponsored a wonderful marathon bus tour of Deco highlights in all five boroughs.
Many of New York’s best-known Deco buildings are official Landmarks, but others were disfigured or lost before they could be protected. This very special tour for ADSNY members, led by our Deco expert, Tony Robins – who was also the Deputy Director of Research and Director of Survey at the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the 1980s and 90s — took us on a whirlwind visit in which we celebrate restored landmarks, were shocked by lost treasures, and consider potential Landmark candidates still at risk of destruction today.
The tour began with a visit to some of the great Deco residential skyscrapers of the Upper West Side, including the dramatic story of the close call when one of them was threatened with disfigurement. Next, we visited the first Art Deco apartment building in the Bronx, given landmark status 30 years ago, followed by a surprising Deco building that isn’t a landmark but perhaps should be.
In Queens, we will stop for lunch on the fly at the beautiful Marine Air Terminal, while admiring its restored Landmark interior, including the once-lost murals of Flight. We also visited a site that should have been made a Landmark but wasn’t, and recently was completely refaced – a sad example of what can happen in the absence of Landmarks protection.
Then in Brooklyn, a borough ADSNY has not yet toured, we saw a once abandoned public building whose restoration resulted from a contested landmark designation; another building once proposed for landmark status but vandalized before it could be protected; and some wonderful Deco apartment buildings in Brighton Beach that lack protection and might disappear at any moment.
Lastly, we visited Staten Island, a borough too often overlooked, to see residential, public and medical buildings that showcase Deco design. At the end of the tour, many tour-goers returned to Manhattan on the magical Staten Island Ferry – one of the great New York experiences.
Boak & Paris: New York Architects
Monday, March 30th, 2015
ADSNY member, Annice Alt, spoke about New York architects, Boak & Paris, whose landmarked Metro Theater and residential buildings brought creative design to city dwellers in the 1930s. Her talk, at the School of Interior Design, gave our members and their guests a chance to also see the exhibition Landmarking Interiors, which gives a rare glimpse of the interiors of New York’s landmarked icons.
The Young Deco Friends’ Guide to Collecting Vintage
Sunday, March 29th, 2015
A group of Young Deco Friends visited with some of the countries best vintage dealers, on a special young collectors stroll through the Pier Antique Show.
Roberta shared her story of how she began her collection, gave pointers on how to start a collection on a budget and introduced attendees to some of the Deco Dealers, who have guided her in her collecting.
Various dealers gave our Young Deco Friends advice on collecting, how to spot genuine Deco objects and history about the objects they specialize in, ranging from fashion, to watches, to lighters, to furniture and so much more.
Why So High?
The World’s Tallest Buildings
Monday, March 23rd, 2015
In this free event Tony Robins asked, examined and attempted to answer the question, “Why So High?” Since the ill-fated Tower of Babel, humans have been powerfully attracted to the idea of buildings rising into the clouds. Original skyscrapers that claimed the title of the world’s tallest building, such as the Empire State Building, still rank among the world’s most famous buildings, while today’s contenders for the title rise close to a quarter mile into the sky.
In the 20th century, it was the American skyscraper that regularly pushed the limit – from the Singer, Met Life and Woolworth buildings to the Chrysler and the Empire State, and eventually the World Trade Center and Sears Tower. Recent plans for the World Trade Center site have focused worldwide attention on such monuments, raising the question: Why so high? Was it strictly dollars and cents? Or was something more at play?
This illustrated journey across a century and a half of the race to the top payed special attention to the design and construction of the Trade Center, and reports on the latest thinking about the future of its site.
This FREE event was made available thanks to funding from the New York Council for the Humanities and through the generosity of Temple Emanu-El.
Deco: The Art of Glamour
Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
This special encore viewing of DECO: The Art of Glamour told the dynamic story of the most sumptuous architectural and design movements the world has ever known. The visually compelling film covered fashion, film, photography, music and architecture while tracking the development of Art Deco – from its Roaring Twenties beginning in Paris to a high-spirited zenith that was abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War II.
The film followed the movement as it brought new levels of excitement to the pleasure palaces – the hotels, cocktail bars, cinemas and ocean liners – that sprang up in the fast-changing world of the 1920s. Art Deco was shown as a liberating force and a global phenomenon that reached beyond the boundaries of the fine and decorative arts, evolving from a luxurious style for the rich and famous into a style dream for the masses.
The original release of this lavish special coincided with the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museums prestigious Art Deco1910-1939 exhibition and includes exclusive rarely seen pre-opening footage from the exhibition itself.
To make this event even more tantalizing, Bill Miller, Mr. Ocean Liner, gave us a special introduction to the film. Miller knows the ins and outs of this film because he was a featured expert interviewed within the film.
We want to give special thanks to Cooper Union for donating their wonderful Rose Auditorium for this event.
ADSNY Donor Circle & Supporting Level Members Inside the National Design Library
Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Stephen Van Dyk, Head of the Art Department of the Smithsonian Libraries, and his staff gave us a behind-the-scenes tour at the National Design Library adjacent to the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
This unique opportunity to visit this research resource as well as to view and hear about treasures of the Art Deco period within the library’s rare book and special collections was truly wonderful. Attendees saw Deskey, Horwitt, Dreyfuss and Rohde design archives as well as rare photographs of Paris Art Deco from the Bonney collection in addition to key books, serials, trade catalogs and world’s fair material of the period.
Art Deco Mailboxes: An Illustrated Design History at the Waldorf
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
View a highlights from this event on our Media Event & Videos page.
In this memorable evening at the Waldorf Astoria we joined author Karen Green to explore the striking beauty of the Deco mailbox. As architecture flourished in the 20s and 30s, Art Deco impacted all aspects of design from the façade to every element of the interior. Superb mailboxes often became the focal point of lobbies in important Deco buildings and public spaces.
Over the years many mailboxes have been removed, forgotten, archived or painted over. Happily, some of these artifacts of the Deco era are still in use, polished daily, and hold a special place of pride in their lobby.
The Waldorf Astoria was the perfect venue for this visually stimulating talk because their archivist brought their wonderful Art Deco mailbox out of the archive for all of us to enjoy. This mailbox was also one of the many fabulous examples featured in this new book.
Fred and Gingers Valentines Soirée
Thursday, February 12th, 2015
ADSNY members celebrated the most romantic holiday of the year while gazing upon one of the most romantic views of the city!
ADSNY’s president opened the door to her beautifully Deco apartment for the annual Valentine’s Soirée. With the East River twinkling below and the Chrysler and Empire State buildings dazzling in the New York City skyline on a crisp winter night, it was easy to imagine Rogers and Astaire dancing onto the terrace in the sky.
This was a memorable evening of glamour full of great company, cocktails, candlelit dinner, live music and sumptuous desserts.
ADSNY members and their guests enjoyed cocktail hour overlooking the Empire State Building as it put on a show, turning red and flashing like a heart beat for Valentines Day.
Empire State Building: Making of a Landmark
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Although the Empire State Building is no longer the tallest building in the world, or even in New York City, it remains mythical and iconic. Architectural historian and author John Tauranac, took ADSNY members and guests through the development of the skyscraper style and discussed the 1920s real estate boom in New York City.
His seminal book, Empire State Building: The Making of a Landmark, was republished for the special 20th anniversary of the original book release. There was a reception and book signing following his fascinating talk.
This event was co-presented by the Museum of the City of New York
This event was recorded by CSPAN and will be broadcast at a later date. We will make an announcement as soon as we know when the program will air.
Holiday on the Normandie!
Monday, December 15, 2014
Bill Miller shared his insights about the wonderful Deco icon, the S.S. Normandie. In this illustrated talk we saw beautiful images of the floating Deco palace, we learned wonderful tales that delighted us and made us appreciate this lost treasure even more.
After the talk we enjoyed a holiday reception with live holiday music, beautiful holiday decorations, festive holiday treats as well as a special vodka punch. The reception also had a silent auction and a raffle so guests could take home holiday gifts for their friends, family, or even themselves!
Everyone raved about the special vodka punch served at the reception of our Holiday on the Normandie event and many asked for the recipe. So we want to share the recipe with all of you to try for your holiday festivities!
You will need:
– 2 bottles of vodka
– 8 cups cranberry juice
– 1 64 oz cans pineapple juice
– 2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 6 cups sugar
– 7 cups water
– 2 2-liter bottles ginger ale
– 24 oz. frozen strawberries
Combine together all of the ingredients except the ginger ale and strawberries and place them in the refrigerator. Just before serving, stir in ginger ale and strawberries. Serve and enjoy!
Fathers of French Art Deco
Monday, November 17, 2014
ADSNY and the Beaux Arts Alliance hosted a spectacular illustrated lecture by author and acclaimed lecturer David Garrard Lowe.
In this illustrated lecture Lowe shared the important contributions to the Deco style made by the fathers of French Art Deco, Henri Sauvage, Auguste Perret and Robert Mallet-Stevens.
Young Deco Friends Deco Decadence
Saturday, November 15th, 2014
The Young Deco Friends enjoyed the annual celebration of 1920s and 1930s glamour! We celebrated the romance of the 20s and 30s in the meticulously restored Prohibition era bar of the Flatiron Lounge.
We dressed to impress in our Deco finery and re-lived the Age of Glamour as we drink Deco Cocktails, met new friends, and enjoyed the music of Jazz Age New York.
Prizes were awarded for the best deco inspired outfits of the evening!
Deco Secrets of the
Museum of the City of New York
Friday, November 7th, 2014
Everyone has their secrets! ADSNY members had a special opportunity to uncover the Deco secrets of the Museum of the City of New York.
Donald Albrecht gave us the inside scoop on the making of his many wonderful exhibitions and archivist Susannah Broyles gave us a behind-the-scenes viewing of photographs, renderings and other great items from the collection.
These are some of the wonderful items archivist Susannah Broyles highlighted from the Museum of the City of New York’s vast collection. She showed us some wonderful theatre costumes, renderings for unrealized pavilion proposals for the 1939 New York Worlds Fair, architectural photographs, and so much more.
Collectively these three images show the development of a Deco building from rendering to physical manifestation.
Members getting a private tour of the Museums storage system.
This special program was been planned exclusively for Art Deco Society members.
Destination: Deco Philadelphia
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
ADSNY was very excited to announce the first event in our new series entitled Destination: Deco. We traveled by motor coach to see the amazing Art Deco that Philadelphia has to offer. Our tour guide, Bob Jaeger led us on a spectacular tour highlighting more than 15 of the most interesting Deco spaces in Philadelphia.
Our first sighting was the 1926 Benjamin Franklin Bridge, created by Paul Philippe Cret.
Shortly afterwards, we picked up a few more of our guests and went to enjoy the US Custom House. The architecture of the Custom House beautifully blends Philadelphia’s historic red brick style with the modern Deco style.
Another stop on the tour allowed us to see the Deco murals and elevators located at the 1928, Simon and Simon, Strawbridge and Clothier Building. The building department store is now closed but as you can see these murals are a wonderful example of how Philadelphia integrated their rich national history with the Deco aesthetic.
Another great building we got to see was the 1929 Ayer Building Lobby. The were many sculptural elements created by J.Wallace Kelly made the space truly breathtaking.
One of the last buildings we saw on the tour of Philadelphia was the amazing Rodeph Shalom Synagogue. The entire synagogue is covered in wonderful hand painted stenciling that creates a truly dramatic Deco interior.
The Adventure of the Restoration of the Empire State Building Lobby
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
View a video from this event on our Media Event & Videos page.
This was a fascinating and enthralling overview of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners restoration of the Empire State Building Lobby, presented by Frank Prial. His illustrated lecture took ADSNY members on an adventure through the many twists and turns faced within the monumental restoration project. A few challenges faced by the firm were the incorporation of modern technologies, how to acquire cohesive materials that originated from quarries that were long forgotten, not to mention the elaborate approval process required by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
This illustrated lecture kept members on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
Friday, October 10th, 2014
In advance of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies’ November 2015 World Congress in Shanghai, ADSNY invited Tess Johnson, co-author of Shanghai Art Deco, to share the unique Deco style of Shanghai with our members. Tess’s illustrated talk featured stunning images of Shanghai’s Art Deco icons that range from the luxurious Sassoon House to the many Deco apartment and office buildings in the city.
Shanghai Art Deco, will be republished for the 2015 Shanghai World Congress.
Maritime Royalty: Life and Times of the Queen Mary
Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
This event celebrated the wonderful life of the SS Queen Mary.
Eighty years ago in Scotland, the Queen Mary, one the great art deco ocean liners, was launched. Along with her running mate, the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary was part of Cunard Line’s service between England and New York. Though she was the pride of Britain, New Yorkers considered her to be their own.
Her presence at the Hudson Piers, from 1936 to 1967, interrupted by World War II, riveted onlookers, journalists, filmmakers, and photographers. To commemorate this anniversary and concurrent Queen Mary exhibition at Ellis Island, ADSNY members joined maritime scholar Bill Miller for a talk about this majestic liner’s illustrious history.
Queens Deco Treasures Tour
Sunday, September 28th, 2014
This was a special members-only tour led by author, lecturer and master tour guide, Tony Robins. Tony lead us on an exploration of the Deco treasures in the neighborhoods of Astoria, LaGuardia, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, and Jamaica. Stops on the trip will include the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia, churches, Ridgewood Savings Bank, RKO Midway Theater, the Astoria Pool and Play center and much much more!
At the end of the day, those who wished to extend their day Queens were invited to enjoy an extended happy hour at the wonderful 20s icon, The Astor Room.
Deco Radio: The Most Beautiful Radios Ever Made
Thursday, September 18th, 2014
View a video from this event on our Media Event & Videos page.
This was a special evening with Peter Sheridan, Art Deco historian, lecturer, author and collector, who came to New York from Australia to share dazzling images of his rare Deco Radio collection that tell the story of the most exquisite receivers ever made.
Peter Sheridan has one of the most important radio collections in the world. DecoRadio: The Most Beautiful Radios Ever Made reveals the extraordinary contribution of famous 1930s industrial designers to the development of the tabletop radio and the subsequent worldwide spread of the Art Deco style.
Sheridan revealed the major influence Deco and Streamlining had on the evolution of radio design through the 1930s and 1940s. He also explored the global expansion of the Deco radio as a symbol of the new machine age, bringing not only Deco styling and color into the home, but shifting the audience from the family to the individual.
The fabulous closing reception offered a chance to win a marvelous Deco radio, wine, snacks and an opportunity to have a signed copy of the new book before it was even released!
New York Art Deco Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, August 9th, 2014
The first annual New York Art Deco Scavenger Hunt was a spectacular success! On Saturday, 78 teams, with names like Little Red Raymond Hood, Setbackz, Wise Guys and Flappers, and The Deconauts, fanned out to all 5 boroughs to solve 60 clues and send photos of their team dressed in official Deco Savenger t-shirts in front of each of the buildings. The day ended with wine and snacks on the terrace of the MCNY where the winners were announced and great prizes awarded.
Many thanks to all of you who participated and to Open House New York and the Museum of the City of New York for being such wonderful partners.
For those of you who missed the fun, you will have another chance in September of 2015 for the second annual Scavenger Hunt!
Here’s a quick glimpse of the results:
Total # of photos submitted during the Hunt via Instagram: 1332
Photos submitted per hour: 190
Photos submitted per minute: 3.1
Most popular outer borough: 20 teams ventured to the Bronx
Least popular outer borough: 2 teams made it to Staten Island
(Note: All three winning teams went to the Bronx)
Most popular sites: The Chrysler Building entrance and the Waldorf-Astoria were both attempted by 55 teams.
Please see the blog post below made by one of the participants, Rebecca Joslow.
The Experience of a 2014 Flapper
Written by Rebecca Joslow of team “Wise Guys and Flappers”
When I thought of New York Art Deco style architecture, two buildings came to mind: The Chrysler Building and The Empire State Building. Naturally, I knew there were more buildings in that style but as a New Yorker, I rarely looked above eye level.
Thanks to the Art Deco Society of New York’s collaboration with Open House New York, by 10am today, I was adorned with a spanking new t-shirt, which read “New York Art Deco Scavenger Hunt” in big letters on the front. In some ways, this lovely t-shirt allowed me to get away with stopping people-traffic to marvel at the world above eye level. This was not a gift to be overlooked because how often are you given the opportunity to stop like a tourist and block traffic in order to take a picture? Not often, indeed! I’m sure many of you have had the desire to glance up and observe your surroundings every once in a while but don’t dare as to not be mistaken as a “tourist”, heaven forbid!
My five member Scavenger Team started walking once we found our first clue then decided it would be a very long day of zig-zagging about Manhattan and thus devised a plan. We googled for about an hour or so and used the Artdeco.org Building Registry as a guide and between the five of us, we pinned down the (supposed) coordinates of every clue in Manhattan and The Bronx. A few photos in, I let go of my New Yorker ego of being labeled as an outsider and jumped in head first to the team mission for the “Wise Guys and Flappers”, which was to get as many points between the hours of 10am and 5pm as possible. Each building clue ranged in points from 2-5.
We attacked midtown first and then headed up to The Bronx. The beauty of this Scavenger Hunt was that it took us beyond Manhattan into different boroughs. It never crossed our minds before this event that there was such Art Deco architectural wonders in the boroughs. We ran like maniacs through Yankee Stadium traffic to locate an old post office, apartment buildings, murals and the like. From there, we headed to the Upper West Side, where there were many Deco beauties as well. The last few minutes were certainly the most tense as we ran from Rockefeller Plaza to Tiffany’s and Bergdorf Goodman. At 4:56, we submitted our final post, high-fived and headed back uptown to the reception.After a long day of learning, walking, running, subway-ing, sweating, photographing and laughing, we ended at The Museum of the City of New York. My team enjoyed a much deserved glass of wine and light fare, then briefly wandered about the museum. I mused over the differences in how New York was represented during historic colonial paintings in comparison to the Deco New York we experienced today.
All in all, the Scavenger Hunt gave me the opportunity to explore the distinctive Deco style of our city’s architecture, much of which happily still stands today. This event left me hungry to learn more about what triggered the transition from the rural farmland and barns of Manhattan during the colonial period to Deco skyscrapers of the mid-1920/30s and how this change was greeted. I’d say stepped facades, etched glass windows, ornate reliefs and thick rounded corners of Deco skyscrapers were a far cry from the very simple functionality of their two story center-chimney colonial predessors.
Today’s event gave me the opportunity to soak in the intricate details of the unique designed architectural structures belonging to New York’s Art Deco period. Now that I have experienced Manhattan and The Bronx Art Deco, I eagerly look forward to exploring the Deco gems tucked away in the landscape of New York’s 3 remaining boroughs. That being said, Art Deco/Open House Scavenger Hunt 2015, I’m ready for you!
Art Deco Society of New York 2013 – 2014 Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
This year’s annual meeting took place at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, home to the stunning mosaics by female Art Deco artisan Hildreth Meiere. Temple Emanu-El was the perfect setting for this year’s distinguished speaker, Kathleen Skolnik, author of a magnificent book on Hildreth Meiere that was published in April.
Kathleen provided a fresh look at the works of Ms. Meiere, one of the most influential and creative decorative artists of the Twentieth Century. Following her talk we were invited to tour the Main Sanctuary of this majestic synagogue by Emanu-El’s administrator, Mark Heutlinger, also a member of ADSNY.
For a special treat, or members were invited to come early to experience a guided tour of the exhibition, Justify Your Existence, in Temple Emanu-El’s Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaic. The special exhibition featured posters from the Moldovan Family Collection. The posters harness the bold vernacular of prevailing graphic styles of the 20s and 30s. By using the dramatic elements of bright colors and vivid shapes they endeavored to address a broad array of important social issues of the period. The Museum’s curator, Warren Klein, was our docent.
How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America
Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Acclaimed writer and historian Donald L. Miller enlightened ADSNY members on how Jazz Age Manhattan commerce and culture enthusiastically embraced each other. We learned why Midtown Manhattan became the center of New York and the epicenter of a new America. Donald Miller told the remarkable tale of the transformation of Manhattan in the 1920s through the stories of the people, most of them ambitious outsiders, who changed the city—and the country.
Donald L. Miller is the author of nine books, including Masters of the Air, currently being made into an HBO dramatic series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. The joint event with the Museum of the City of New York also featured a wine reception and book signing.
Bill Cunningham New York: Portrait of an Artist
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
This event was a free after-hours viewing of the New York Historical Society’s exhibition, Bill Cunningham: Facades, which showcases some of New York’s Art Deco icons, followed by a screening of the award-winning documentary Bill Cunningham New York – a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of the photographer and cultural anthropologist. Members enjoyed a romp around New York through Cunningham’s lens from the late 1960s to the present.
This event was a partnership between the Art Deco Society of New York and the New York Historical Society.
Art Deco Collections of Greenwich Connecticut
Sunday, April 13th, 2014
ADSNY members were treated to a spectacular day when we were invited to visit the homes of two major collections of Art Deco, led by author, consultant and collector, Alastair Duncan.
On this bus tour we visited two stunning homes that house important and wide-ranging collections of Art Deco, Bugatti and Art Deco bronzes, and Tiffany and Galle lamps.
Central Park West Art Deco Treasures
Sunday, March 30th, 2014
ADSNY joined lecturer Tony Robins for a captivating walk along Central Park West to get a closer look at the Art Deco gems that form Manhattan’s major residential skyline.
A few buildings we looked at were the twin-towered skyscraper apartment buildings — the Century, the Majestic, and the Eldorado.
Tony’s events are always a treat.
Young Deco Friends inside Radio City
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
This was our Young Deco Friends special chance to get a behind the scenes look at America’s art deco showpalace, Radio City Music Hall!
This Art Deco tour took us through the innovative mind of interior designer Donald Deskey, who incorporated his love for the ‘new’ Art Deco motif in an elaborate portfolio that garnered him the commission of a lifetime.
We got to see his original 1932 furnishings have been expertly restored and adorn the public spaces and lounges of the Music Hall. The lounges of Radio City also house some very significant works of art by prominent artists Stuart Davis, Henry Billings, and Eduard Buk Ulreich.
We even got the opportunity to step inside the Roxy Suite, one of the few remaining spaces still intact, designed entirely by Donald Deskey himself!
Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
Our members had a special curated tour of the exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s, displayed clothing spanning the decade between the Jazz Age the onset of WWII.
Through our tour we got a glimpse into how the decade created truly modern clothing, leading to the phenomenon of modern and elegant dressing in both women’s high fashion and men’s tailoring, as well as their respective accessories.
The curators spoke about 1930s fashions during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern western history. Set between the stock market crash in 1929 and the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, culture during the interim was not only elegant, but also lighthearted, vibrant, and escapist. Elegance in an Age of Crisis was the first exhibition to feature a balanced view of both women’s high fashion and menswear.
David Garrard Lowe Presents:
Art Deco New York: An Illustrated Lecture
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
ADSNY got the chance to join author and acclaimed lecturer David Garrard Lowe on a spectacular journey through New York City during the transformative decades between the two world wars, when Art Deco influenced not only architectural styles, but also fashion and furniture; textiles and graphics; the design of trains and automobiles; and even the look of film and stage sets. His entertaining lecture, was tailor-made for Art Deco newcomers and aficionados alike.
Nick and Nora Elegance Valentine’s Cocktail Party
Thursday, February 20th, 2014
We renewed an ADSNY tradition, our Art Deco Valentine’s Cocktail Party! For those of you who had missed their fabulous apartment during Open House New York, ADSNY members Dia and Johan Scholvinck hosted the evening of flowing wine, passed hors d’oeuvres, romantic music and candlelight, and a perfectly decadent dessert! Our host, Dia Scholvinck of Dia Scholvinck Design Studio, even discussed the restoration and her use of European and American Deco pieces to create a stunning example of 1930s inspired design.
Young Deco Friends Cercle Rouge Soirée
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
This was a very special event held at Cercle Rouge, a classic 1930s inspired French brasserie, in the heart of TriBeCa. The evening featured entertainment by the dreamy Michael Arenella Quartet.
Together with Land Mark West’s Young Preservationists and the members of Tribeca Trust, we brought the hot Jazz Age music indoors to warm a cold winter evening!
Propaganda and Slogans:
The Political Poster in Soviet Ukraine, 1919-1921
This was an ADSNY-exclusive after hours curated tour of the exhibition Propaganda and Slogans, The Political Poster in Soviet Ukraine, 1919-1921 at the Ukrainian Museum. The exhibition features 28 original posters rarely seen in the United States in a survey of early political propaganda generated by the Soviet regime to garner support from Ukrainians. Lesser known than their Russian counterparts, the posters are nonetheless exemplary of the modernist graphic design sensibility of the era.
Our members had the opportunity to explore the politics behind the propaganda, and their artistic expression. Indeed, the artistic appeal of the posters was as much a part of the propaganda effort as the political messages it generated. The curator gave us a heartfelt and educational glance into how the political poster became a powerful tool by providing immediately understandable messages in the form of vivid imagery and bold typography.
The artistry of the poster was also admired for its formal qualities and quickly gained important cultural status, which it retained for the seven decades of Soviet rule. Posters were massed-produced. They adorned streets and shop windows, and served as backdrops to political rituals, such as processions and public meetings. The poster was used to reinforce the new state’s directives and to convey a positive image of the new regime. This is was a rare opportunity to learn about works that have maintained their artistic impact long after the fall of the Soviet Union.
A Deco Icon’s Past, Present and Future
Friday, Jan. 10th, 2014
At this special one-time event, ADSNY members met the curator of the archives of the Waldorf-Astoria and learned about the digital archives that preserve the story of this cultural and historical Art Deco Landmark. We learned why, when the decision to build a new Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was made in the late 1920s, the managers and investors of the new hotel were emphatic that the atmosphere, traditions and prestige associated with the former Waldorf-Astoria be preserved but transferred to a new structure that incorporated the innovative design and technology of the twentieth century.
On a private guided tour, we saw the work of architects Leonard Schultze and Fullerton Weaver who realized that the Art Deco style emerging in New York during this era was the perfect way to combine traditional elegance with modern functionalism and how the building has stood as a shining, preeminent example of Art Deco design since its opening in 1931.
A wine reception kicked off this special evening at the Waldorf!
Christies 20th Century Auction
Saturday, December 14th, 2013
On a snowy Saturday afternoon in December, 25 hardy ADSNY members came out for a special private preview of Christie’s 20th Century Auction and Magnificent Tiffany with Christie’s specialists in 20th Century Decorative Arts.
Whether a buyer or we just wanted one last chance to see these beautiful objects before they disappeared into private collections, we were treated to an insightful free guided tour only for ADSNY members and their guests.
The Art Deco Poster:
A Slide Talk and Lecture
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
ADSNY members were treated to a lively lecture and slide show about a magnificent new book, The Art Deco Poster, by author William W. Crouse
Posters of the Art Deco period, which once graced billboards and walls to advertise every variety of product, service, entertainment and political cause, are prized today for the richness of their design and ingenuity; they inspire graphic designers and are highly collectible.
William Crouse, a longtime poster aficionado and collector, showed us a selection from the more than 300 of the most sought-after examples of poster art created between the World Wars. The Art Deco Poster presents a jaunty cavalcade of international poster design and includes rare and unique examples by masters of the art form, including Nizzoli, Cassandre and Beall. Each image is accompanied by an informative caption that addresses its aesthetic, sociological, economic, and/or political context.
Secrets of an Iconic Neighborhood
Sunday, November 24th, 2013
ADSNY members were treated to a private walking tour of Rockefeller Center with spirited tour leader, cultural historian and Rockefeller authority Sibyl Groff, to experience the chic ambiance and the diversity of the architectural jewel that is Rockefeller Center – and the neighborhood surrounding this midtown Manhattan landmark.
Sibyl shared some of the secrets and the treasures of one of the most important pieces of real estate in the world. We enjoyed a wealth of visual delights and heard about the history and behind-the-scenes stories of this multi-faceted midtown mosaic.
Pier Antiques Show
Saturday and Sunday, November 23rd and 24th, 2013
ADSNY members attended this popular New York annual event at a reduced admission price and congregated at our prominently situated members’ table, where we had a fun daily raffle and for free giveaways. It was a great time to see fabulous Deco furniture and objects and socialize with our ADSNY friends.
Norman Bel Geddes: I have seen the future
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
ADSNY members took a private curated tour of the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America with curator Donald Albrecht shortly after it opened to the public.
Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future was the first major exploration of the stage and industrial designer whom The New York Times dubbed “the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century.” A visionary who was equally comfortable in the realms of fact and fiction, Bel Geddes (1893-1958) played a significant role in the 1920s and ’30s, shaping not only modern America but also the nation’s image of itself as innovator and leader into the future.
Bel Geddes most famously expressed his dynamic vision of this American future—streamlined, technocratic and optimistic–with his unforgettable Futurama exhibition at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. Bringing together 200 never-before-seen drawings, models, photographs and films of theater sets and costumes, housing projects and appliances, airplanes and automobiles, the exhibition underscored the fact that Bel Geddes sought nothing less the transformation of American society through design.
Our ADSNY members enjoyed this special event that began with a private discussion with Donald Albrecht about the exhibition, followed by smaller groups of ADSNY members moving through the galleries with Donald to inform and answer questions.
New York’s Midtown Deco Treasures
Sunday, October 20th, 2013
American Radiator Building
John Tauranac, architectural historian, author, the man responsible for the New York Subway map and ADSNY Advisory Board member, led 35 ADSNY members on a tour of midtown Art Deco treasures
Included were the Chanin, Chrysler, Graybar, American Radiator and Daily News buildings, ending at the Empire State Building. No one knows the New York’s Deco masterpieces better than John, and no one navigates the city better than John, whose maps and his Manhattan Block by Block: A Street Atlas, as well as his books on the Empire State Building, and New York From the Air make any tour with John a not-to-be-missed experience.
All Shook Up: An Art Collector’s Private Showing
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Those ADSNY members fortunate enough to attend this sold-out unique evening at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Bill Crouse are still talking about it as the hit of the fall season! Bill hosted our members for cocktails and a discussion and viewing of what the Robb Report calls one of the world’s finest collections of rare ‘20s and ‘30s cocktail shakers.
When Bill Crouse received his first Art Deco cocktail shaker as a gift from his wife he was hooked. Now, more than two decades later, he has amassed what is considered one of the five best collections in existence. Bill opened this rare collection to ADSNY members for a special fall fund-raiser in his stunning Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was an unforgettable evening as we saw and learned about his “choice, best of the best…cream of the crop” cocktail shaker collection…and of course enjoyed cocktails in a magical setting!
Open House New York – Deco Apartments
Sunday, October 13th, 2013
For the first time, The Art Deco Society of New York participated in this year’s Open House New York weekend, with two of our members opening their Art Deco homes to the public.
Participants toured a former shoe-manufacturing warehouse in Lower Manhattan transformed into a dazzling Art Deco apartment.
Our host was ADSNY member Dia Scholvinck of Dia Scholvinck Design Studio. She discussed the restoration and her use of European and American Deco pieces to create a stunning example of 1930s design.The apartment’s 17-foot ceilings and a mezzanine clad in Czech Art Deco metalwork look down on the living room decorated with furniture, lighting, rugs, art and ceramics of the Art Deco period.
Tours: Sunday, October 13, 1 and 2 pm Duane Street, Lower Manhattan
Those ADSNY members unable to join the sold-out September Bronx Deco Bus Tour had a second chance to visit the last stop on that tour, the 1937 Art Deco Pelham Parkway apartment building designed by H. I. Feldman. They had a guided tour of this building, recently featured in The New York Times, with ADSNY member and building resident Alex Disbrow. They saw the building’s Deco terra cotta entrance and stunning lobby mosaic. Then they were invited to visit Alex’s recently restored apartment with its period furnishings, set against such original architectural details as Art Deco arches and moldings, a sprawling sunken living room typical of Bronx Deco apartments of the period, and magnificent views of the New York Botanical Garden.
Deco: The Art of Glamour
Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Over 140 fortunate members were treated to a screening of a lavish documentary never before seen in the United States: DECO: The Art of Glamour. This film, which was aired in the UK at the time of the acclaimed Victoria and Albert Art Deco exhibition, was introduced by Russell Flinchum, curator, award-winning author and specialist in 20th-century design who is interviewed on screen in this fast-paced, engaging history and overview of Art Deco around the world. After the film, Russell will lead a discussion and Q & A about Art Deco design.
DECO: The Art of Glamour tells a story that covers fashion, film, photography, music and architecture as it tracks the development of Art Deco – from its Roaring Twenties beginning in Paris to a high-spirited zenith that was abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War II.
The film follows the movement as it brought new levels of excitement to the pleasure palaces – the hotels, cocktail bars, cinemas and ocean liners – that sprang up in the fast-changing world of the 1920s. Art Deco is shown as a liberating force and a global phenomenon that reached beyond the boundaries of the fine and decorative arts, evolving from a luxurious style for the rich and famous into a style dream for the masses.
The only screening of this unique film was on Sept. 26, at the Helen Mills Theater, 137 West 26 Street, Chelsea.
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Led by author and lecturer Tony Robins, this sold-out bus tour of the Bronx highlighted a range of outstanding
Art Deco buildings including Grand Concourse apartment houses, the Bronx Court House, Herman Ridder Junior High, the Bronx Zoo’s Rainey Memorial Gates and much more.
This popular tour culminated in a reception in the lobby of ADSNY member Alex Disbrow, whose 1937 Art Deco Pelham Parkway apartment building, designed by master architect, H.I. Feldman, was featured in the New York Times earlier in the year.