art deco

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

At the time this black and white photograph was taken in 1930, the Chrysler Building was brand new and had the distinction of being the tallest building in the world. It took that crown from 40 Wall Street, which held if for only a few weeks, and yielded it less than a year later to the Empire State Building.

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Aerial Overview of the Empire State Building, 1964

Aerial Overview of the Empire State Building, 1964

The Empire State Building is no less impressive when seen from above than from below. In this aerial photograph, taken in 1964, we can see the Art Deco masterpiece in all its glory. It dominates the midtown skyline, stabbing upward into the sky, defiantly daring someone to build a taller building. It would be nearly a decade before anyone would.

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East River Skyline, c. 1955

East River Skyline, c. 1955

The Manhattan Skyline viewed from Roosevelt Island in 1955 looks strikingly familiar to a contemporary viewer. The art deco spires of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building spear the sky, and the cigarette-box-shaped United Nations waits impassively for the better world its construction was supposed to help usher in. But the majestic giants of the second half of the Twentieth Century are conspicuously absent. The Citigroup Center, the Bear Stearns Building, the MetLife Building, and many others have yet to replace their smaller, forgotten predecessors.

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