A little art deco in the morning

I’m feel a bit of a lazy bones this morning and I’m also inexplicably melancholy over the U.S. loss to Ghana in Saturday’s World Cup match. I didn’t think I cared all that much but it turns out I *did*! After the U.S. was ousted, I hung my hopes on England and you saw what happened there. It’s going to make for a long Monday morning. In deference to my laziness, I thought I’d toss up a few random art deco shots.

This is the interior of the Chanin Building on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. It’s another in a series of architectural masterpieces that seem to be around every corner out here.

The Chanin Building went up in 1929, just a few years before the Chrysler Building (which is right across the street). It was built by Irwin S. Chanin. Imagine; you’re such a megalomaniac that you build a skyscraper and name it after yourself, but a few years later, someone builds the Chrysler Building across the street and your place becomes a footnote.

This is, quite possibly, the most elegant font ever created. Bronze lettering on black Belgian marble.


This grill and reliefs are in the vestibule just before you enter the lobby. Hurried commuters rush past without giving them a second look.

This one reminds me of the cover of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.



I see thunderbolts/radio waves as a reoccurring theme in many art deco buildings. I guess someone discovers what works and everyone follows suit.


* * *

There’s a bit of a heat wave in the city. There’s no heat like New York City heat. The subway system keeps the ground warm and the skyscrapers reflect the heat downward onto the streets. The filth clings to your skin. And it’s only June! I just don’t feel myself in the morning unless my underwear is sticking to my ass and I get a blast of bus fumes in my face as I try to cross 42nd St.

23 thoughts on “A little art deco in the morning

  1. Ugh the heat sounds horrible. Ugh, I hate it when my clothes sticks to my body. Luckily this doesn’t happen to often in CT. The summers are hot but not humid. I can’t deal with humidity. FYI I’m glad England lost

  2. Before headbang8 went to Munich, he was posted to NYC from Tokyo.He described it as The Urine City.I agreed with him. A recent doco has the cleanup back into the “pretzels and rats” category of Letterman topics.A lot of Italian parsley would help as well.

  3. Sid: I didn’t even mention that it fucks up my hair. And what do you have against the English team? What’d they do to you?Mama: The city if FULL of art deco flourishes. Search “art deco” on my blog. I’ve done a few posts with photos. PG: I think most people crossing 42nd St. are feeling themselves.Pat: I don’t think it’s got anything to do with your age. You have an affinity because it’s lovely to behold.Oscar: Do I know you?! And who the hell is headbang8? Am I suppose to know him, too? Don’t insult my city in my comment section. I’ll take this place over pretty much every other spot on the map, warts and all. I tried to see which horrible corner of the world you crawled out from but you’re password protected.

  4. kykn: I’m afraid that if I’m made to wait four more years, I’ll go back to not caring. Happy birthday, BTW.EG: This place isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. ESPECIALLY in August! Over the years, I’ve gone back and forth on Ayn Rand. She’s polarizing.MP: Thanks for the link.

  5. this is what i don’t understand, sugar. new yorkers come down heah and complain about the heat and humidity in the summer when i know it can be just as bad up there in the summer. ok, i know that it’s africa hot here from may 30th to october 1st, but i swear, y’all would think they know how to handle air you can feel, right? xoxoxo

  6. Hi from AustraliaLoved the Chanin building images, My memory is of leaving the building in a hurry, still snapping shots with a security guard yelling after us – “No photos!” Not surprisingly, our images werent great. But apparently thats been the rule since it opened. Well done.Robin GrowPresident, Art deco & Modernism Society, Melbourne, Australia

  7. Savannah: Oh, we just like to complain in general. The weather is just a convenient target.Map: Well, it hasn’t changed a bit, pal. Hot town. Summer in the city. Indeed.Rob: HELLO! You’ll be happy to know that I, too, was yelled at by a security guard. What a bunch of spoiled sports. Do a search on my blog for “art deco” for more tasty posts. There’s a few really good ones on the Chrysler Building, if you don’t mind my saying so.Jo: Please do yourself a favor and bring some comfortable walking shoes. Just think…this could be your only opportunity to experience a hurricane. And I am proud to say that several people have accused me of sending the post card but I did not. That time.

  8. I love art deco too… and fonts too! (I spent 5 years working in the printing industry before desktop publishing came into existence, so I did typesetting with font strips on big wheels in a clunker of a machine.)I’d love to go to NYC… I want to tour all the museums and galleries…On my bucket list, for sure!

  9. I couldn’t be all that depressed about the US going down in the tourney – they did so well. It’s the start of something, I think. Now, put your money on Deutschland – they’re some mighty great fussballians, they are.

  10. Pointa: I remember that about you. I’m in the print business as well. It sure has come a long way since linotype presses.Pop: A stylish makeover. If it happens, post pics, please. Sally: The U.S. did VERY well. Much better than England. But I was still quite sad to see them lose. Germany’s next game will be a real challenge. Germany would have murdered the U.S.

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