Thanks to the building boom of the roaring 1920’s, Art Deco architecture features prominently in the New York City skyline. Originating in France after World War I, the Art Deco style is characterized by sharp angles, vibrant colors and hints of exoticism. Here are the best Art Deco buildings to see in Manhattan.
Everyone’s favorite skyscraper, the Chrysler Building has been a skyline staple since it was completed in 1930. It was the tallest building in the world for a full year before the Empire State Building passed it in 1931. But what it lacks in height, it makes up for in aura, and it’s widely viewed as one of the most beautiful structures in the city.
Chrysler Building. 405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY
One Wall Street
The 50 story limestone highrise at One Wall Street contains one of the best preserved Art Deco interiors in the city. Behind the gold revolving doors at the Wall Street entrance is an ornate two-story lobby filled with a mosaic of red and gold tiles imported from Berlin. If you look toward the top of the building from outside, you’ll see the elongated glass windows that look out from the building’s observatory, which is unfortunately closed to the public.
One Wall Street. Nassau St, New York, NY
The Century at 8th Avenue and 63rd Street on Central Park West is one of the Upper West Side’s few Art Deco classics. As one of the “twin-towered” buildings characteristic of the neighborhood, it’s the only one not built in a Beaux-Arts style—offering an interesting contrast to its surroundings. It’s the perfect Art Deco pitstop when you’re Uptown for a stroll in the park.
The Century. 25 Central Park West, New York, NY
Empire State Building
Big, bold and arguably the most iconic building in the world, the Empire State Building is an Art Deco masterpiece. The first building in history to surpass 100 floors, the ESB was the globe’s tallest structure for 40 years. While it’s a magnificent sight from street level, climbing to the 86th floor observation deck offers some of the best views the city has to offer—and a closer look at the flapper fan detailing on its spire.
Empire State Building. 350 5th Ave, New York, NY
500 Fifth Avenue
If you think 500 Fifth Avenue bears a striking resemblance to the Empire State Building, it’s not a coincidence—it was built during the same time period by the same architects. The smaller, oft-overlooked cousin has been the cornerstone of 42nd and Fifth since 1930. Ever at the intersection of old and new, you’ll find Zara downstairs and the New York Public Library at Bryant Park across the street.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY