2019–2020 Annual Report
The New York Art Deco Registry and Map, a listing of existing Art Deco buildings in the five boroughs. This resource, free to everyone interested in learning about buildings throughout the city, is a great source for creating personalized self-guided walking tours. Through the help of dedicated volunteers––Harriet Abramson, Lindsay Cohen, Jim Duke, and Brita Okin, in addition to the help of Board Member Mary Beth Betts––this resource has grown to include over 500 New York Deco buildings.
The new website also includes the Art Deco Book List of important publications on Art Deco architecture, design, and decorative arts, as well as the culture of the 1920s and 30s. Special thanks to Lindsay Cohen, our dedicated volunteer, for spending many days meticulously creating a database of ADSNY’s more than 1,000 publications, including those bequeathed to us by our friend and advisor, the late Michael J. Smith.
Artdeco.org also offers interesting perspectives to help answer the question “What is Art Deco?” as well as many insightful articles exploring a wide range of Deco-related topics. Many of these inspired our Daily Dose of Deco emails. These fascinating articles are now available free on our website thanks to the generosity of our esteemed authors and the valued efforts of our volunteer Kari Makenna.
ADSNY’s new website also includes our unique line of Deco-inspired gifts. Since masks have become an important accessory to our wardrobe, we have designed a line of Deco-inspired masks and other special merchandise, which you can find on our website. Each purchase not only gives you unique Deco fashion but a portion of your purchase helps to support ADSNY’s mission.
In addition to offering information on past, present, and future events, ADSNY has been happy to add a new, Video Events section, which allows ADSNY members and people from around the world to enjoy our recorded programs on demand. Each Video Event allows you to stream all of the original content of ADSNY's programs at a time that best fits your schedule. While watching, you will see the entire presentation directly on your computer screen, tablet, or mobile device.
Our educational program Documenting Deco continued to enrich the lives of young people in grades K through 12 by introducing them to interwar architecture and design. I am happy to announce that through creative in-class activities and engaging neighborhood walks, Christine Stoddard, ADSNY’s Coordinator of Outreach Programs, was able to work with teachers and students to successfully bring the program to our ten targeted New York City schools before they closed in March. Documenting Deco is made possible by generous donations from our members and a matching grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. As a reminder, you can support this worthwhile program by adopting a school to honor someone special in your life, give back to the school you once attended, or support a school in own your neighborhood––where you can see the kids in action. To learn more, please contact us at Info@ArtDeco.org.
We were also pleased to continue ADSNY’s program Telling the Art Deco Stories of Our Neighborhoods, which provides illustrated talks and walking tours designed to introduce residents to the distinctive buildings, rich history, and unique culture that shaped their own neighborhoods in the 1920s and 30s. ADSNY partners with community organizations to engage their neighborhood residents in this program. Once New York went on pause, we worked diligently to find a creative way to continue this important outreach initiative. Offering these online neighborhood talks through Zoom, we have found that these events now reach a wider, more inclusive audience. This program is funded by contributions from our members and matching grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
In the pre-COVID world one of the highlights our 2019–20 season was ADSNY’s first Autumn in New York weekend, which we hope will become an annual October event when travel to the city resumes. This in-depth, extended weekend––enjoyed by visitors and locals alike––explored New York City’s iconic architecture, design, and culture, with tours by New York’s leading Deco experts. We dined in unique Jazz Age spaces, had special visits and tours of Deco interiors, and much more.
In December, ADSNY published the sixth issue of our celebrated journal Art Deco New York. The journal is a major undertaking and possible only through the major efforts of our volunteer team, including ADSNY Vice-President Tony Robins, Sandra Tansky, Peter Singer, Alma Kadragic, Diane Nottle, Harriet Abramson; and Meghan Weatherby. The 2019 issue, published at the dawn of the twenty-first century’s own Roaring Twenties, paid homage to ADSNY’s founders and their vision of Deco’s timelessness.
Our popular Destination DecoTM travel series continued in January when an enthusiastic group of ADSNY members traveled to Miami and Havana to explore stellar Art Deco in both cities. We look forward to continuing to offer exciting, one-of-a-kind tours for our members to explore interwar architecture, design, and culture with regional experts in other Deco cities as soon as we feel travel is safe again.
During our 2019–20 season, ADSNY presented a rich variety of 17 in-person local events, including lectures; walking tours; private visits to members’ homes to see their Deco collections; collaborations with museums, archives, and other cultural organizations; and more. Like all New York organizations that had to quickly adapt to shelter-in-place orders beginning in mid-March, ADSNY postponed in-person programs that our team had spent so much time and energy planning. We were especially disappointed that we had to postpone our extraordinary Destination Deco: Los Angeles and Long Beach tour, scheduled for May, but we look forward to the day when we will be able to safely reschedule the wonderful program we have planned.
When the city went on pause, Meghan and I quickly recognized that we had to find creative ways to continue offering our members meaningful programs and distractions from the uncertainty and isolation we were all experiencing. In March, we launched ADSNY’s Daily Dose of Deco emails. We greatly appreciate the many words of thanks and encouragement that Daily Dose of Deco received from our members, reminding us that we are all in these uncertain days, together. Working remotely, Meghan and I adapted ADSNY’s initiatives to a new, online format and have now offered eight web-based programs from April through June. We were happy to make ADSNY’s website our “clubhouse” while we were all sheltering at home.
Through the magic of technology, I am very proud to report that ADSNY was one of the city’s first cultural organizations to offer regular, live programs online and became a model for other organizations near and far. Meghan deserves much credit for exploring options and guiding this new effort.
One of the very positive results of these new web-based formats is that we can now address an often-heard comment from Deco enthusiasts around the world: how they wished they could attend our engaging events. Happily, these online programs offer Deco enthusiasts––and our members everywhere––the ability to regularly participate in our rich programming. ADSNY’s online programs, each by a distinguished expert, have been attended by individuals across many time zones and geographic areas around the world.
During this challenging time, your financial support is more important than ever, so please consider renewing, raising your membership level, or donating now. As a thank-you for a donation of $300 or more, ADSNY supporting-level members are invited to special live and online events throughout the year. Please consider becoming a higher-level member, which not only helps ADSNY but also offers you special access.
ADSNY’s achievements are possible only because of the support of our members, our volunteers, our Board of Directors and Advisors, and Meghan Weatherby, our multi-talented Executive Director, who is always in the trenches beside me as we dream big and make our dreams reality. We appreciate your continued interest and support in helping ADSNY play a vital role in this, the greatest Art Deco city in the world, especially during these uncertain days.
We always welcome our member’s suggestions for topics, potential speakers, and locations for events and tours, so please keep sending us your ideas. Stay well, and stay engaged!
Have a good, and safe, summer,
President | Art Deco Society of New York
Every June, the Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY), holds an annual meeting to share important highlights of the last 12 months with our members. Sadly, we are unable to gather in-person this year, so I am taking this opportunity to celebrate ADSNY’s recent achievements with you as I enter my eighth year as the organization's President.
Before New York and the rest of the world closed in March, ADSNY was on a roll! Since last June our membership has grown to over 500, and we now have almost 45,000 followers on social media and email.
One of our biggest achievements this past year was the redesign, enhancement, and launch of our new ArtDeco.org website, spearheaded by ADSNY’s Executive Director, Meghan Weatherby. In addition to the updated look, the website provides a more secure way for you to manage your ADSNY membership and register for events. Our online home has become the source for Art Deco information in New York and around the world, receiving more than 100,000 visits this past year from individuals in more than 140 countries.
Our website continues to offers information about our past, present, and future events, but now it offers a lot more! It includes many useful resources for those who want to learn more about Art Deco or explore their own neighborhoods. You will find:
Board of Directors
President: Roberta Nusim
Vice-President: Anthony W. Robins
Treasurer: Marie Tarmy
Secretary: Aidan T. McManus
Board Members: Mary Beth Betts, Devon Caraher, Stephen H. Van Dyk
Advisory Board Members: Donald Albrecht, Simeon Bankoff, Andrew S. Dolkart, Marilyn F. Friedman, Polly Guerin, Pamela Hamilton, Susan Henshaw Jones, Joan Kahr, Audrey Lipton, David Gerrard Lowe, Frank Prial, Kathleen Murphy Skolnik