History of ADSNY

The History of the Art Deco Society of New York


The Art Deco Society of New York was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1982. ADSNY’s mission was to foster public appreciation and understanding of artistic expression in all aspects of Art Deco. Art Deco was a major force in the cultural history of the United States in the 20th Century with New York at its center.

ADSNY’s goal was to draw attention to the merits and significance of the dynamic Art Deco architecture, crafts, and decorative arts as well as to implement greater understanding of aesthetic forces of Art Deco through tours, exhibits, publications, and community events. Its intent was to prevent any needless destruction of important architectural examples of the Art Deco period and to help protect and preserve those examples wherever possible.

In its early years, the Art Deco Society of New York hosted many seminal events, including New York’s first Art Deco weekend in June of 1983. The weekend featured an exhibition and sale in the McGraw-Hill Building.


The Cloud Club in the Chrysler Building, Image Copyright Randy Juster, DecoPix.com

In September 1985 New York Art Deco Week celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Paris 1925 L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, with an exhibition and sale in the Cloud Club.  The Art Deco week included walking tours, lectures, symposia, and galas that contributed to the important revival of the Art Deco movement in the 1980s. New Yorkers were excited to learn about this progressive and fascinating art period.

In the 1980s and 1990s, ADSNY published a magazine series called The Modernist with informational articles and timely reports on events, Art Deco exhibits and presentations.

In 2000 ADSNY published the millennium issue of The Modernist, a collectible edition on New York and international Art Deco treasures.

In May 2005 ADSNY hosted the 8th World Congress on Art Deco with more than 250 Art Deco aficionados from around the world coming together to celebrate the wealth of New York’s magnificent Art Deco icons, with a lecture series at CUNY Graduate Center, walking tours, Art Deco excursions in and outside Manhattan, receptions, and celebrations at the Western Union Building, Top of the Tower, Lenox Lounge, the Empire State Building, Eugene’s, and a gala in the lobby of the Chrysler Building on the 75th Anniversary of the opening of their wonderful Art Deco doors.

Today ADSNY continues the mission of its founders through a wide variety of important educational, preservation and celebratory programs for its ever-expanding membership and supporters.


Mural inside the Empire State Building

Recognizing the need to reach out to new generation, in 2013 ADSNY introduced a Young Deco Friends Group for students and young people in their 20s and 30s, coming together to learn about, celebrate and protect New York’s great Deco heritage.

In early 2014 ADSNY introduced a dynamic new website, with an Interactive Map and Deco Building Registry, the first ever comprehensive listing of residential, commercial and municipal buildings in the five boroughs of New York that have an Art Deco interior or façade. This valuable resource is for scholars and all New Yorkers interested in learning more about the Deco treasures in their own neighborhoods.

As we continue on our Deco path, we proudly adhere to our originally mission to preserve and promote the city’s rich Art Deco heritage and celebrate New York’s leading role in the unique aesthetic of the 1920s and 1930s in fine and decorative arts, fashion, entertainment and preservation of the city’s architectural masterpieces.

The Art Deco Society of New York is a recognized 501c3 not-for profit member supported organization and is a member of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS), made up of Art Deco societies around the world that hold a world congress every two years alternating between a Deco City in the United States and a Deco City around the world.

Our Past Presidents

Dennis Abbe
Michael Love
Larry Zim
David Gibson
William T. Weber
Shirley Gaynes
Kathy Hausman

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