New York Art Deco

A Guide to Gotham's Jazz Age Architecture

By Anthony W. Robins

Subjects: New York/regional, Architectural History/architecture, Urban Studies, Art
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438463964, 304 pages, June 2017

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Table of contents


Introduction: Art Deco New York
New York in the Jazz Age
The Skyscraper Architects
The Art Deco Look
The Art of Advertising
Filtering Out and Down Across the Metropolis
The Fall and Rise of Art Deco

A Note on the Itineraries

1. From Bowling Green to Wall Street

2. Civic Center and TriBeCa

3. From Murray Hill to Gramercy Park

4. The Garment District

5. Forty-Second Street East to West

6. From Beekman Place to Rockefeller Center to the Brill Building

7. From Bloomingdale’s to the Sofia Apartments

Color plates
Photographs by Randy Juster

8. Upper West Side: Central Park West

9. Upper West Side: Broadway and Riverside Drive

10. Upper East Side

11. Washington Heights

12. The Bronx

13. Brooklyn

14. Queens

15. Staten Island

A Note on Sources

The first guidebook devoted exclusively to New York City’s Art Deco treasures.


Winner of a 2017–2018 New York City Book Award presented by the New York Society Library

Of all the world's great cities, perhaps none is so defined by its Art Deco architecture as New York. Lively and informative, New York Art Deco leads readers step-by-step past the monuments of the 1920s and '30s that recast New York as the world's modern metropolis. Anthony W. Robins, New York's best-known Art Deco guide, includes an introductory essay describing the Art Deco phenomenon, followed by eleven walking tour itineraries in Manhattan—each accompanied by a map designed by legendary New York cartographer John Tauranac—and a survey of Deco sites across the four other boroughs. Also included is a photo gallery of sixteen color plates by nationally acclaimed Art Deco photographer Randy Juster. In New York Art Deco, Robins has distilled thirty years' worth of experience into a guidebook for all to enjoy at their own pace.

A native New Yorker and twenty-year veteran of the New York City Landmarks Commission, Anthony W. Robins is the author of books on Grand Central Terminal, the World Trade Center, and the art and architecture of the New York subway system. A popular leader of walking tours all over New York City, he is best known for Art Deco, and organized the city's first regularly scheduled series of Art Deco tours, sponsored by the Art Deco Society of New York. He is the recipient of the 2017 Guiding Spirit Award from the Guides Association of New York City.


"Anyone fortunate enough to tour the Art Deco splendors of New York with architectural historian, lecturer, and well-known guide Anthony W. Robins is not likely to forget the experience … Robins' engaging text and vivid descriptions are guaranteed to leave readers longing for a firsthand look at New York's Art Deco." — Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine

"…New York Art Deco is essential for all architecture and urban-history collections." — CHOICE

"…a colorful keepsake for any aficionado." — New York Times

"…[a] wonderful book … lots of wonderful photographs, both color and black and white, and well-written, thorough write-ups of each site … a treasure." — Manhattan Book Review

"When it comes to Art Deco architecture in NYC, Anthony W. Robins is your guy." — 6sqft

"New York Art Deco is an exuberant romp through Art Deco New York City. Robins's narrative sizzles like the Jazz Age buildings he explores … [it] is actually a brilliant piece of stealth preservation advocacy … All lovers of New York City's architecture and history will want to thank Robins … for this great labor of love." — Art Deco New York

"[Robins] has an easy and enjoyable writing style, much like his tour narratives, and is adept at describing buildings in clear, simple language … This is an absolute must-have for your bookshelf, and sure to provide many happy memories when you dip into it over the years. But beware—reading it is guaranteed to send you straight to the airport for a flight to New York!" — Spirit of Progress

"A wonderful, warmhearted, exceptionally knowledgeable and detailed guidebook that takes you firmly by the hand along fifteen thoughtfully planned itineraries through New York's most exuberant and optimistic architectural heritage—those much-beloved Art Deco skyscrapers, apartment houses, shops, and theaters that stand out as the showy orchids and magnificent birds-of-paradise of the city's building stock. Anthony W. Robins's New York Art Deco is an essential introduction to hundreds of structures that are, as the book says, 'waiting impatiently for you to visit.'" — Tony Hiss, author of In Motion: The Experience of Travel

"Anthony W. Robins has produced what will surely stand as the definitive guide to New York City's Art Deco architecture. The book is an authoritative as well as entertaining tour de force, drawn from the author's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject." — Jules Stewart, author of Gotham Rising: New York in the '30s

"Anthony Robins's New York Art Deco fills a void in the design library of New York. Well organized by itineraries that begin at the very tip of Manhattan and work their way into the other four boroughs, it is filled with invaluable information on the monuments of Art Deco and French moderne structures whose design perfectly expresses the streamlined era when speed and movement were celebrated. This is a must-have book for every lover of Art Deco, whether you are a New Yorker or a visitor from New Zealand." — David Garrard Lowe, author of Art Deco New York

"The Art Deco style fits New York like a glove, from the skyscraping Chrysler Building to the little, eye-popping Lane Theater on Staten Island, and nobody knows it like Anthony Robins. If you thought you knew Art Deco—as I did, before I read his New York Art Deco—then buy this book and be surprised." — Christopher Gray, author of the former New York Times Streetscapes column

"Buy this book, take a few wonderful walks around the entire city (discovering some fine New York neighborhoods you probably have never been to), from the Grand Concourse and Washington Heights' treasure trove of Deco to the Chrysler Building to Flatbush in Brooklyn, and ask yourself, do all those new glass towers in Manhattan leave you as delighted as Art Deco's confections, whether seven stories or seventy? That generation knew how to make buildings that you really want to live in, work in, and walk by. Thank you, Anthony Robins, for giving us the keys to that kingdom." — Barry Lewis, architectural historian

"With the publication of New York Art Deco everyone, from the city explorer to the armchair reader, can now experience Anthony Robins's dynamic Art Deco walking tours. Robins not only discusses the city's famed Deco skyscrapers, but also identifies the spectacular but little-known Deco gems spread across the city. This book is a must for those who love New York and thrill to Art Deco architecture." — Andrew Scott Dolkart, author of The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908–1929