There’s a reason that some of Manhattan’s iconic landmarks – the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, for instance – are Art Deco in style. No era seems to encapsulate New York’s frenzied, forward-thinking energy as fully as the freewheeling, pre-Depression 1920s.
Even amid the maddening neon chaos of Times Square, New Yorkers are drawn back to bygone decades. Make your way through the seedy Liberty Diner – on over-lit, over-crowded 42nd – to find the Liberty Theater: a towering, disused Deco-style space recently taken over by vintage-inspired Speakeasy Dollhouse, who’ve mounted a recreation of Depression-era cabaret impresario Florenz Ziegfeld’s Midnight Follies.
Down the road, Urbo restaurant opens up its top floor weekly to a 1920s era jazz band – and the lindy-hopping, Charlestoning bright young things who come (often in period-appropriate dress) to dance till dawn for the price of a glass of champagne.
“You can go to a different vintage event every day of the week,” says a boy in a pink bow-tie and turquoise suspenders. “And you still wouldn’t be able to go to everything.”
The city’s Jazz Age subculture is only growing: last year’s summer Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island drew 20,000 guests over four days.
“New York hasn’t changed a bit,” jokes one girl on Urbo’s dance floor after attempting a swing-out, heels in the air. “We’re still the same city from The Great Gatsby. Just more expensive.”
Want those million-dollar views of Manhattan? This hotel, a New York icon, is quite the place to stay. See what Local Expert Jan has to say about it!