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LECTURE: Art Deco New York: The Architects Speak
September 13 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Sponsored by the Art Deco Society of New York. Click here for details. ($50; $35 for ADSNY members)
We explore the work of three of the architects who helped transform the face of New York City in the 1920s and 30s with the colorful and geometric designs we now call Art Deco–and we hear the architects describe their buildings in their own words.
The great Art Deco skyscrapers–the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building–were designed by socially prominent architects, often of old New York stock. But a generation of Jewish architects and builders–new to the profession and often new to the country–helped spread the Deco style across the more modest, but also more numerous, middle-class landscapes of the city, from the Garment District to the Grand Concourse. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I had the good fortune to meet and interview three of those architects and recorded the interviews.
The three architects––Israel Crausman, Louis Allen Abramson, and Marvin Fine––came from varying backgrounds. Fine, of the firm of Horace Ginsbern, had a sophisticated architectural education at the University of Pennsylvania; Abramson apprenticed to a famous older architect, took a few extension courses at Columbia, and then went out on his own; while Crausman was a self-taught builder. Fine designed the first Deco apartment house in the Bronx; Crausman designed many Bronx apartment houses on and off the Grand Concourse; Abramson designed notable Horn & Hardart Automats, as well as restaurants in the Longchamps chain.