Old Gotham Returns

Walker Tower

(The Chelsea Beetle, New York, NY. 2014)

An interesting phenomenon is occurring over the New York skyline; The return of The Old Gothic & Art Deco Style, made popular during the 20’s and 30’s.

Most notable are the new buildings going up at 30 Park Place (By Robert A.M. Stern) and the Gothic Revival addition to Ralph Thomas Walkers’ infamous Verizon Buildings in Manhattan’s Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods. Of the two, The Chelsea Beetle makes a more notable appearance due to it’s height and sizeable addition to his existing structure, crafted in a similar style as the original by the Architecture firm Cetra/CRI Architects.

As an addition, and partial imitation of an existing building, The Chelsea Beetle appears to be a success in an Urban environment which is often littered with cheap copies of style. From a distance (and up close) the details of Art Deco Ornament have been carried forth with careful attention. The Beetle’s top is adorned with a slightly taller Bell Tower, and capped with four tapered antennae, perhaps a nod to the Communications history of the earlier building’s past?



(The Chelsea Beetle in profile, New York, NY. Photo by Greg Gordon Canaras. 2014)

Turning South into the Lower Financial District of Manhattan, we see 30 Park Place rising against the skyline. Crafted in a similar Deco Style by the architect Robert A.M Stern, albeit much taller, the tower is meant to evoke visions of Manhattan’s early 20th Century Grandeur; Another imitation which seeks to fulfill a void of sorts. This Void is the lack of quality in The Urban Form, and as quality is subjective, it commonly refers to a level of “appropriateness” as to how a structure serves its inhabitants, and in turn the greater City at large.


(30 Park Place by Robert A.M. Stern. Under Construction. New York, NY. 2014)

For some reason, these imitations, much like 15 Central Park West (another Stern Building) evoke a quiet confidence in a New York which is both progressive yet seeks to hold true to its Roots. We love the established buildings which are the Cornerstone’s of The City; The Chrysler Building and The Empire State, similar in style to the time. The Chelsea Beetle and 30 Park Place fulfill a Historical spot in Our City’s collective mind; one which is moving ever so swiftly forward…with a backward glance to The Past.


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