Richard Berenholtz, New York architect-turned-photographer, will soon be releasing his book, New York Deco. This forthcoming photograph-laden tome features the Art Deco designs of New York City’s 1920s skyscrapers. Each of the 130 striking images is complemented by quotes from famous New Yorkers of the 20s and 30s.
Distinguished with sculptures, mosaics, and murals, the highlighted Art Deco buildings are a remarkable contrast to today’s architecture. While the city has been adorned with halted construction and scaled back designs over the past few years, New York Deco shines a light on what use to be.
An example is the Chrysler building. The gargoyles are molded as radiator caps, hood ornaments, and hubcaps. That intricate detail from the 1920’s is a reminder to New Yorkers of how creative the city, and it’s buildings, are. Other skyscrapers are designed with the story of evolution and nature. The architects of 55 Central Park West designed the building to seem as if the sun was always shining upon it—using a deep red at the base and building up with gradually paler material.
A photo of the black brick American Standard Radiator Building, which has eight gilded gargoyles representing the transformation of matter into energy, is paired with a quote from Paul Morand. Portraying a lighter time, Morand is quoted as saying, “These skyscrapers, who belong to a brotherhood of giants, help each other to rise, to prop each other up, to soar until all sense of perspective disappears”, and that is something all New Yorkers can appreciate.