In New York City there is truly something for everyone: From world-famous museums and TOP attractions to architecturally valuable buildings, the choice is wide. The city has also always been an important place for architects, because designing a building for New York City is probably one of the greatest things you can achieve in this profession.
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Thus, you can find many iconic buildings with a wide variety of architectural styles. One era in particular has produced many buildings that New York City is known for: the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 1930s. In this article I’ll show you the most beautiful and impressive buildings, most of which you can actually visit.
My tip: if you are as interested in the city’s architecture as I am, you should also check out my guide to the 50 most important landmarks of New York City or the TOP 10 architecture tours in NYC. I’ve done most of them myself!
What makes Art Deco stand out?
- Art Deco was an art and design movement in the 1920s and 1930s.
- It is characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, modern materials and stylized patterns.
- It is an elegant and modern design direction that is still considered timeless today.
That this is so true, you can see in these buildings, many of which are world-renowned and have been instrumental in shaping the Art Deco era:
These are the best Art Deco buildings in NYC
However, Art Deco architecture in New York is not limited to skyscrapers and large buildings. Smaller buildings and stores often use elements of the Art Deco style to design their facades as well.
Chrysler BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Chrysler Building is one of the many landmarks of the city. The architecture makes it so unique and recognizable. Yet, it was not supposed to look like this at all and was only created because the founder wanted to have the title of the tallest building in the world.
Empire State BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Empire State Building is probably the most famous skyscraper of New York and one of the most popular sights of the city. It definitely belongs to every New York visit.
It was ceremoniously opened in 1931 and is one of the most impressive Art Deco buildings in the world. Both from the outside and inside you can see many of the defining architectural elements.
Rockefeller CenterBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1930s, this complex spans more than three blocks between 5th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), East 47th Street and 52nd Street. The GE building is the tallest of the complex’s 19 buildings, with a height of 259.1 meters.
The building is characterized by its rectangular shape and clean lines, highlighted by horizontal and vertical stripes and decorations. It is an excellent example of the Art Deco style and was an important building during the Great Depression.
Radio City Music HallOther Art & Culture in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Radio City Music Hall is a very famous theater building in the middle of New York. It is part of the Rockefeller Center and is located in close proximity to the Top of The Rock and the Museum of Modern Art. When you see the Radio City Music Hall from the outside, it will seem like a journey 80 years into the past. In many movies you can see the old neon sign and therefore it is really famous.
The Art Deco design of Radio City Music Hall is embodied in its form and symmetry, geometric patterns, and use of diverse elements such as stone, chrome, and glass. Take a look at the many details on the walls and columns – simply beautiful, and not only at Christmas time.
Bergdorf GoodmanOther Shopping in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Bergdorf Goodman is a luxury department store on 5th Avenue and has been selling upscale women’s fashion and accessories since 1929. The product range now also includes exclusive interior design items, bridal fashions, shoes, jewelry, children’s clothing and cosmetics in the upper price segment.
The New Yorker – A Wyndham HotelHotels & Accommodations in Hell's KitchenAdd to myNY added
4 Stars| The New Yorker is one of the most famous hotels in the whole city – partly, because of the huge sign with its name on it on top of the building. Built in the Art Deco style, the hotel is beautifully decorated and should definitely be on your list if you’re looking for superb accommodation. From the upper floors you can see the Empire State Building and the Hudson River, and with Central Park you have the green lungs of the city right outside your hotel door.
The Plaza New YorkHotels & Accommodations in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
5 Stars | The most famous hotel around Central Park is likely The Plaza. Opening in 1907, the world-renowned luxury hotel represents a piece of New York’s rich history. Of course, it can’t be missing from any such list of the best hotels in city. The Plaza has become a real New York landmark. So many stars and other illustrious guests have walked through the doors of this iconic building over the years. You likely notice the hotel from the 90s classic movie Home Alone 2. The façade in the style of the French Renaissance and the impressive interior design can also be seen in many other famous productions. The Plaza is located at the southern end of Central Park, not far from 5th Avenue.
70 Pine StreetBuilding in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
The skyscraper named 70 Pine Street is located on the street of the same name in the Financial District of Manhattan and was completed in 1932. It is 290 meters high and is one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The Art Deco style of 70 Pine Street is characterized by its slender silhouette accented with smooth lines and vertical details. The geometric patterns on the facade and the glass doors of the entrance are also typical of the Art Deco style.
One Wall StreetBuilding in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
The One Wall Street building is a classic example of the Art Deco style. With its clear geometric shapes and distinctive roof, it is easily recognizable in the New York skyline. The interior design of the building is also particularly impressive, with ornate ornaments and marble cladding in typical Art Deco style.
Walker TowerBuilding in ChelseaAdd to myNY added
This impressive building from 1929 was once a telephone office and was later converted into luxury apartments. The facade is decorated with elegant ornaments that reflect the typical Art Deco flair. Inside, the building has numerous decorative elements such as ornate wooden panels and stone fireplaces.
40 Wall StBuilding in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
Opened in 1930, 40 Wall St, also known as the “Chrysler Building of the Financial District,” is an impressive example of Art Deco architecture in office construction. The façade is made of terra cotta, glass and steel, and features typical Art Deco characteristics, such as the vertical articulation that runs throughout the building.
It was made famous by the competition between Craig Severance and William Van Alen, two business partners who fell out and had a head-to-head race to build the tallest building in the world. The result? 40 Wall Street, designed by Craig Severance, was the world’s tallest building for exactly one day, until it was topped by the Chrysler Building one day later. This was planned by William Van Alen and less than a year later there was the next tallest building: the Empire State Building. All three buildings were built in the Art Deco style.
American Radiator BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Located just off Bryant Park, the American Radiator Building is the building with the striking black granite and gold facade. It was built in the late 1920s and has typical Art Deco features, such as vertical lines, abstract patterns and ornate ornaments.
Barclay-Vesey BuildingBuilding in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Barclay-Vesey Building is located at 140 West Street next to One World Trade Center. The building was completed in 1927 and is an excellent example of Art Deco architecture in New York. The most distinctive feature of the building is the cantilevered tower on the north side.
It is also a perfect example of the incredible variety of architectural styles that exist in NYC – what a contrast to One World Trade Center, right?
The MajesticBuilding in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
The Majestic is located on Central Park West between 71st and 72nd Streets, just one block from the famous Dakota Building and the striking The San Remo Building (built in the Beaux Arts style).
It is an apartment building completed in 1931. You can see all the elements known for Art Deco architecture, such as the elegant facade. Inside, there are many ornate details such as magnificent murals and impressive chandeliers.
By the way, Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon, is just 100 meters away.
El DoradoBuilding in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
The El Dorado is another luxury apartment building on Central Park West and looks very similar to The San Remo Building. Located between 90th and 91st Streets west of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, it is another example of the Art Deco style. It was built in the 1930s and is distinguished by its symmetrical facades interspersed with vertical lines and geometric patterns.
Paramount BuildingBuilding in Theatre DistrictAdd to myNY added
The Paramount Building, originally built as an office building, is another great example of the Art Deco style in New York City. With its impressive facade adorned with sculptures and decorative elements and its distinctive Art Deco tower, it is a true landmark of the city. Today, the Paramount Building is home to the Hard Rock Hotel.
Western Union BuildingBuilding in TribecaAdd to myNY added
The Western Union Building on Broadway was also built in the 1930s and is distinguished by its stylized ornamentation and striking aluminum facade. The building was a pioneer in the use of aluminum in architecture and was imitated by many other buildings in New York.
If you want to check it out, you can’t miss it. It is located in Tribeca not far from Jenga Tower called 56 Leonard Street (56 Leonard).
Waldorf AstoriaBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue was hotel from 1931. The elegant lines, rounded corners and subtle yet striking decorations on the facade make the building a true Art Deco masterpiece. Inside the hotel there are also many other art works and design elements in the Art Deco style.
Brooklyn Public LibraryBuilding in Prospect HeightsAdd to myNY added
The Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza was designed in the 1930s by architects Alfred Morton Githens and Francis Keally. The main facade of the building is made of limestone and features a relief of the writer Walt Whitman, whose works are kept in the library. Another feature of the Brooklyn Public Library is the entrance, which is flanked by two 30-foot-high columns made of granite. Inside the library, many details have been preserved, such as the original light fixtures and furniture.
Bronx General Post OfficeBuilding in BronxAdd to myNY added
The Bronx General Post Office opened in 1937 – a particularly striking feature is the over 40 meter high bell tower. You’ll find it at the corner of 149th Street and Grand Concourse. Inside are spacious public rooms, including an impressive post office foyer adorned with murals and bronze statues. The combination of the building’s artistic design and its function as a post office make the Bronx General Post Office a distinctive part of New York architecture.
Beekman TowerBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Designed by John Mead Howells, the Beekman Tower (also known as the Panhellenic Tower) was built between 1927 and 1928. The Art Deco skyscraper is located at the corner of First Avenue and East 49th Street in Midtown Manhattan and has a total of 26 floors.
The building was designed with many setbacks and bevels at the corners. The sculptural ornaments in Art Deco style with Gothic influences are designed by Rene Paul Chambellan. Since 1998, the Beekman Tower is officially one of the landmarks of New York City.
Art Deco Tour in New York City
If you want a local guide to show you the best spots, check out this Art Deco tour 👇
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!