Closed for 25 Years Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre Survives

Nick Carr of ScoutingNY.com takes a fascinatingly beautiful, yet eerie photo tour of Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre. According to Carr, the Paramount, which opened in 1930, was Staten Island’s most elaborate movie theater and even served at one time as a nightclub and concert venue for many of New York City’s rock bands. The building, however, has been closed and has sat vacant for the past twenty-five years.

Several years ago, investors had planned to reopen the Paramount as a restaurant and performance center, but the plans were not realized,

Thanks go out to Kevin Lee Allen and Kathleen McDonough for sharing the ScoutingNY.com post on their Facebook pages. By the way, check out their blog; it’s pretty cool.

Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, (c. 1930), architect unknown.
Photo credit: Nick Carr, ScoutingNY.com © 2014 Source

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Silly Saturday: Patron Saints of Graphic Design

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on November 12, 2011.

Slightly blasphemous but nonetheless amusing are W. Lynn Garrett's Patron Saints of Graphic Design. As a survivor of both Catholic school and art school, I hope these “saints” are watching out for me.

Thanks to Jacob Cass of Just Creative Design for sharing.

St. Typo

W. Lynn Garrett, Saint Typo (2003).
Source: http://images4.cpcache.com/nocache/product/11119214v2147483647_150x150_Front.jpg

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All Wright Walk 2014: Unity Temple (1905)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple was the only Wright designed building included on the 2014 All Wright House Walk that was not a house, unless you consider the structure as a house of worship.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Unity Temple (1905-1908), Oak Park, IL.

Unity Temple, perhaps one of Wright’s finest works, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1970.1

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Unity Temple, motto (exterior detail).

According to the brochure that accompanied the All Wright 2014 tour, there are more than one hundred art glass windows within the building; a fine example is shown here

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Unity Temple, art glass inset (exterior detail).

The columns of Unity Temple’s facade features a hollyhock motif one of Wright’s recurring designs, used in several of his buildings from this the period.

imageUnity Temple, balastrade on the front facade (exterior detail).

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A dramatic view of the exterior of Unity Temple at night.

For more information on Unity Temple visit the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation Web site.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

Reference

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

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All Wright Walk 2014: Arthur B. Heurtley House

imageFrank Lloyd Wright, Arthur B. Heurtley House (1902), Oak Park IL.
Photo Credit: Bill Bowen Copyright 2014.

The Arthur B. Huertley House is one of the finest examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie homes. Built, in 1092 for banker Arthur B. Huertley and his family, the home features a “broad chimney, low-hipped roof, deep overhangs, concrete base and tapered walls”1. Wright used two colors of brick in contrasting horizontal bands to emphasize the building’s horizontal lines and convey a sense of hugging the land.

Like Wright’s earlier William G. Fricke House (1901), the Heurtley House features a prow shaped porch pictured in the above photo flanked by two enormous planters.

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All Wright Walk 2014: William G. Fricke House (1901)

The William G. Fricke house is, much like his William Martin House (1903), one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie homes that accentuates the vertical rather than the horizontal.1

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Frank Lloyd Wright, William G. Fricke House (1901), Oak Park IL.

The overhanging eaves and raised wood banding are striking elements of the structure’s architecture design.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, William G. Fricke House (1901) entrance, Oak Park IL.

The Fricke House features a distinctive prow like Wright’s later work, the Peter A. Beachy House (1906).

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Frank Lloyd Wright, William G. Fricke House (1901) exterior detail, Oak Park IL.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

Reference

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

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All Wright Walk 2014: Peter A. Beachy House (1906)

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed this residence for Peter and Susan Emma Beachy immediately after returning from his first visit to Japan; this enormous house reflects the Japanese influence (though Wright himself rarely if ever admitted to being influenced by anything or anyone). Another home featured on the All Wright 2014, the Hills-DeCaro House (1906) also exhibits Japanese influence.1

The current owners are superb, ideal and sensitive stewards of the remarkable Beachy House.

imageFrank Lloyd Wright, Peter A. Beachy House (1906).

Below is a detail shot of the Beachy House exterior.

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All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

Reference

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

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All Wright Walk 2014: Hills-DeCaro House (1906)

It is difficult to believe that Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hills-DeCaro House (1906) was originally a Stick-style house that Wright was commissioned to remodel by Nathan Moore who the property next door. It is even more difficult to believe that most of the existing structure was rebuilt in the late 1970’s after a devastating fire destroyed all but the first floor of the home. The home is jointly named for the home’s original owners the Hills and for the DeCaros who restored the home close to Wright’s original vision.

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Hills-DeCaro House (1906, restored 1977-78), Oak Park, IL.

With steeply pitched roofs and flared eaves, the home is an example of Japanese influence on Wright’s architecture after his 1905 trip there. The Peter A. Beachy House also exhibits this Eastern style.

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Hills-DeCaro House exterior detail of roof and eaves.

imageA restored ticket booth from 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition graces the home’s side yard.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

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All Wright Walk 2014: Isabel Roberts House (1908)

This past May, Design and Desire in the Twentieth Century celebrated our fourth anniversary by going on the road to attend the Frank Lloyd Wright Trusts’ All Wright 2014 house walk and fundraiser.

The Trust is also celebrating an important anniversary (although much more significant than ours), the 125th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. To mark this occasion, this year’s house walk features all Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes — including one home seldom open to the public, the Isabel Roberts House in neighboring River Forest.

Early in her career Isabel Roberts worked as a draftsman in Wright’s Oak Studio. According to the brochure that accompanied the All Wright Walk, Wright designed the structure a home for Miss Roberts, her mother and an unmarried sister. Miss Roberts later moved to Florida and established her own architectural firm there.

In 1927 new owners made changes to the home’s exterior. They hired as the project’s architect, William Drummond whose own home can be seen in the background of this photo.

The home changed owners again and in 1955 the current owners “persuaded Wright himself to remodel the interior.”1 Wright updated the flooring and woodwork and added a dramatic stepped ceiling consistent with the style of the interiors of architect’s 1950s Usonian buildings.

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Left Frank Lloyd Wright, Isabel Roberts House (1908), River Forest, IL.
Right: William E. Drummond House (1909)

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Frank Lloyd Wright, Isabel Roberts House (1908), River Forest, IL.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

Reference

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

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Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline Turns 75!

It has been seventy-five years since illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, children’s book Madeline was published. The series of books follows the adventures of a mischievous Parisian schoolgirl and has been favorite reading for several generations of readers, this writer included.

To celebrate Madeline's seventy-fifth birthday, The New York Historical Society Museum and library in New York City is exhibiting many of Bemelmans’s original illustrations created for Madeline along with drawings of the old Ritz Hotel in New York and murals from a Paris bistro. The exhibition, “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans” runs now through October 13, 2014.

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Ludwig Bemelmans, Cover Illustration for Madeline (1939).
Image source.

In addition to his children’s books, Ludwig Bemelmans created cover illustrations for the leading American magazines of the Twentieth Century, designed sets for a Broadway play and is renowned for his murals in The Carlyle Hotel in New York.

For more on Ludwig Bemelmans and Madeline visit the Madeline Wed site.

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Mary Blair, the Disney Artist You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The Huffington Post recently ran an article on Disney art director, Mary Blair, whose most recognizable contribution to Disney is the design of the “It’s a Small World" ride. One of her concept illustrations is shown below.

Blair’s background in modern art and watercolors influenced her work on such productions as “Peter Pan,” “Cinderella,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Disney’s animated productions during the mid-Twentieth century all bear her influence.

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Mary Blair, It’s a Small World concept art (ca. 1966) ; Walt Disney Family Foundation; © Disney
Image Source

A retrospective "Magic, Color and Flair: the World of Mary Blair" is on view now through September 7, 2014 at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA.

For more on Mary Blair read the article on Huffington Post and visit the Disney Family Museum Web site,

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