Art Deco in New York (1920s-1930s)

Art Deco was the first architectural style in America that didn’t look back to historical styles for inspiration. It rejected historical precedents and emerged as the first truly original modern style of architecture. Art Deco was not just an architectural style but a movement that influenced fashion, art, homewares, and interior design in the 1920s…

Greek Revival in New York (1825 to 1860)

Greek Revival was the first architectural style in America not based on a British style. American culture was steeped in the English tradition, and even after the American Revolution, the aesthetics were still English. It changed after the War of 1812 when the British attempted once again to take over. The need to establish a…

High Victorian Gothic in New York

High Victorian Gothic was an eclectic architectural style and movement during the mid-late 19th century. A sub-style of the broader Gothic Revival style, it developed in England in the mid of the 19th century. Initially, this style was inspired by English medieval architecture, but later it drew from medieval French and German traditions as well. It…

A Renaissance Lobby in a Jazz Age Hotel

The green roof belonging to The Sherry-Netherland Hotel is visible from across Central Park and Fifth Avenue. But if one walks past it along Fifth Avenue, one could easily miss its entrance. Even though the hotel does not feature a grand entrance, its lobby is one of the most spectacular interior spaces in the city….

Gothic Revival in New York

The Gothic Revival began in England in the second half of the 18th century and lasted throughout the 19th century. It was a conscious movement to revive medieval Gothic architectural forms. It’s called ‘Gothic Revival’ because it echoes Gothic architecture, that developed in France in the twelfth century. Gothic was a style used for churches…

Colonial (Georgian and Federal) in New York

The Georgian period runs from 1714 to 1830. The style, named for the reigns of the first four King Georges of England, starts with the year of George I’s accession and persists until the death of the last of the Georges – George IV. It’s characterized by simplicity, symmetrical design, classic proportions, restrained decorative elements,…

Second Empire Style in New York

The Second Empire style takes its name from the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870) – a period known as the Second Empire. During this time, Paris was transformed into a city of grand boulevards and monumental buildings. The Second Empire style is eclectic, drawing from Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Émile Zola, in one of his novels, described a…

The Pierre Hotel Robbery

A dubious accolade, but here it is: the largest, most successful hotel robbery in history took place in New York City in the venerable Pierre Hotel and was listed as such in the Guinness Book of World Records. The robbers have been burglarizing one New York City hotel after another without ever being caught, but the…

Chateauesque and German/French Renaissance Revival in New York

Chateauesque is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a style based on sixteenth-century French chateaus in the Loire Valley of France. The elaborate revival style became popular between the 1880s and 1900s and was favored by the affluent. The Chateauesque architecture style is rather easy to identify. Its main characteristics are: Chateau-like appearance Round tower with…

Formal Dinner… on Horseback

How would you celebrate the opening of your stables? A dinner, perhaps? Here is how Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings, an American industrialist tycoon, philanthropist, and a noted horseman and horse breeder did it. On March 28, 1903, he gave a lavish 14-course dinner for a small select group of people, namely thirty-five members of the…

Italian Renaissance Revival Architecture in New York

Italian Renaissance Revival spans the period from the 1890s to the 1930s, but its popularity peaked in 1900 – 1920. The original Italian Renaissance was itself a revival style that looked to emulate the Classical period. In its turn, 14th – 16th-century Florentine and Roman urban palazzi inspired its rebirth during the 20th century in America…

The Dakota and Singer sewing machine

The Dakota – the first luxury apartment building in New York City – was not just a building; it was a rule-breaking revolutionary concept. In the 1880s, the Gilded Age wealthy resided in palatial private residences, while apartment living was associated with poverty. The Dakota changed these rules forever. They called The Dakota Clark’s folly….