Closed for 25 Years Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre Survives

Nick Carr of 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 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, © 2014 Source

Niagara Mohawk Building

Recently our friends at Art Deco Architecture posted this stunning image of the Niagara Mohawk Building is located in my hometown, Syracuse, NY. I used to pass this building every day on my way to work at another, although less impressive, Art Deco structure, the State Tower Building.


Melvin L. King, Niagara Mohawk Building (1932). Photographer unknown.

As soon as the snow melts (if it ever does), I’ll get out and take more photos of this Art Deco masterwork to add to Design and Desire. And to our friends at Art Deco Architecture, if you do get the opportunity to visit Syracuse, NY, please don’t hesitate to look me up!

Read the orignal post on Art Deco Architecture.

Art Deco Buildings in Greenbelt, Maryland

Our friend David Thompson of the Art Deco Buildings blog shared some terrific photos of his trip to Greenbelt, Maryland earlier this year. According to Thompson:

In 1936, Greenbelt … was built in Maryland between Washington DC and Baltimore. It was a bold experiment in co-operative living with all the town’s businesses and even the newspaper co-cooperatively owned by the residents. The homogeneous houses and flats where built around a city center that included shops, a theater and an elementary school.

Read more about Greenbelt, Maryland on Art Deco Buildings, and also read Thompson’s post on The Greenbelt Community Center.

For more on the community of Greenbelt, Maryland visit the city’s Web site.

Greenbelt, Maryland
Greenbelt Theatre and Supermarket, Greenbelt, Maryland (1937).

Future Uncertian for Providence’s “Superman Building”

Late last year the New York Times online posted an article on the Industrial Trust Building in Providence, Rhode Island. A centerpiece landmark of downtown Providence, the Art Deco gem of a skyscraper that once was the workplace of hundreds now sits vacant. The building’s most recent tenant, the Bank of America, moved out in April 2013.

According to the New York Times article, the Industrial Trust Building ”became known as the ‘Superman building,’ in the mistaken belief that it had appeared in an establishing shot for the Adventures of Superman television series of the 1950s. 

The Industrial Trust Building made Providence’s WLNE-TV’s list of Most Endangered Properties in Providence. The building’s current owners, High Rock Development, hope to convert it into luxury apartments. So far their plans have stalled, and the future of the skyscraper is uncertain.

Read more about the Industrial Trust Building on the New York Times Web site.

A Stewart Walker and Leon N. Gillette, Industrial Trust Building, Providence, RI (1927).
Image Source

A Visit to the Exmore Diner
Last September Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap paid a visit to the Exmore Diner in Exmore Virginia. According to Mod Betty’s post, “the Exmore Diner is the only vintage diner on Virginia’s eastern shore. The diner, which opened in 1954, features pink, black and yellow tile work as well as a “swell neon clock.” 
Read Mod Betty’s entire post.
Visit the Exmore Diner’s Web site.

Exmore Diner

Patterson Vehicle Company, Exmore Diner, Exmore, VA (1954). Photo copyright 2013 Retro Roadmap.


It’s Alive! Inside Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory

Design and Desire in the Twentieth Century celebrates Halloween by featuring the life and work of Charles D. Hall, the production designer responsible for the look of Universal's iconic horror films of the 1930s.

In this video excerpt from Frankenstein (1931), Hall combines styles from Gothic architecture in Frankenstein’s castle with Art Deco inspired laboratory technology. Hall’s design influenced the look of horror films for decades.

Prudential House: High Finance in High Art Deco Style

Thank you to David Thompson of Art Deco Buildings blog for posting his photographs of the stunning Prudential House located at 55 York Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Notice the decorative frieze on either side of the doorway. 

According to Art Deco Buildings, the skyscraper “was designed by architects Kaplan & Sprachman and completed in 1929.”

Read more and view more photos on Art Deco Buildings.

Prudential House
Harold Kaplan and Abraham Sprachman, Prudential House, Entrance. Toronto, Canada. Photo credit: David Thompson, 2013.

The Last New Year’s Eve for the Lenox Lounge

Lenox Lounge Exterior. Photographer unknown. Copyright 2012 Black Enterprise.

Very sad news was posted recently on Lost New York. The legendary Harlem jazz club, The Lenox Lounge, closes on December 31, 2012.

The club first opened as a speakeasy in 1929; Jazz greats such as Billie Holliday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane all played there. After the club’s heyday during the 1930s and 1940s, it fell into neglect until purchased by current owner Alvin Reed in 1988.1 “Reed restored the original Art Deco interior including the long mahogany bar, checkered black-and-white floor and the world famous Zebra Room. The bar’s interior was returned to its original condition and served as the setting for numerous television shows and films”1.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Reed did not renew his lease after he learned that the rent would double to $20,000 a month. Reed will be taking the iconic sign with him and has trademarked the club’s name.1


Baker, C. (2012).Last Call at Lenox Lounge, Harlem’s Famed Jazz Club, Due to Rising Rents. Black Enterprise.

Deco Art Glass Windows

When one thinks of art glass windows it’s usually the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany or Frank Lloyd Wright that comes to mind. Art Deco generally isn’t associated with leaded art glass windows. The work of René Lalique is more in keeping with typical Art Deco glass.

Australian photographer David Thompson, however, recently posted three marvelous examples of Art Deco glass windows that he discovered on a building in Moruya, New South Wales. We’re sharing one here; you can see more on David’s blog, Art Deco Buildings.

Art Deco Window
David Thompson, Art Deco Window in Moruya, New South Wales (2012). Copyright David Thompson.

Esquire Theatre, The ‘Classiest’ Movie House in Chicago

Our friends in the Windy City, designslinger, have devoted a recent post to the Esquire Theatre, located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. The Esquire was designed by brothers architect William Pereira and designer Hal Pereira for the two younger Balaban brothers, Harry and Elmer. (You may be familiar with the elder brothers, motion picture business pioneers Abe and Barney of the Balaban and Katz Theatre Corporation.)

According to designslinger, in its day the 1400-seat Esquire, “with its streamline details and elegant appointments was dubbed the city’s ‘classiest’ movie house in Chicago.”

Incidentally William and Hal Pereiera, both enjoyed successful careers as Hollywood art directors. William was the production designer on the film noir classic, “This Gun for Hire" (1942) and also on "Jane Eyre" (1943)1. Hal worked on over 200 films and won an Academy Award in 1955 for his art direction on “The Rose Tattoo.” Hal also later served as one of the production designers on the long-running television series “Bonanza2.

See more great photos and read the entire post on

Esquire Theatre
William and Hal Pereira, Esquire Theatre, Chicago, IL (1938). Photo: Copyright 2012 Designslinger.


  1. Wikipedia (2012). William Pereira.
  2. (n.d.). Hal Pereira.