Ellen here, thrilled to welcome Laurie Chandlar to her first Chicks visit! LA writes the wonderful Art Deco Mystery series, set in my hometown of New York, New York. But I didn’t even know some of the fascinating facts she shares today about some of the city’s most iconic Art Deco sites…
The Inspiring Art Deco of the Art Deco Mysteries
Art Deco is one of the most beloved art forms and to this day, even if you’re not a very artsy person, you know what it is, what it looks like. But what most people don’t know, is that the most iconic Art Deco buildings that we know and love from that era were built after the Stock Market Crash in 1929. When the world was reeling from an economic depression like no other, these icons of beauty were built despite the hard times. Which is why I think they’re even more remarkable. Beauty out of ashes will always be a theme for me and in my writing.
The Chrysler Building is my favorite and my protagonist, Lane Sanders, aide to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, in the Art Deco Mystery Series adores it as well. She remembers it going up and how the triangular windows at the top point upward. They represent to her where they came from in the 1930s –The Great War, the Depression, Prohibition—and to where they’re going. They represent their strength and the willingness to keep going and to make a difference.
The Empire State Building broke ground in 1931 and the entire behemoth was built –doors opened—in thirteen months! They can’t renovate our local playground here in Manhattan today within thirteen months! That building used all sorts of new methods in construction, too. It was the first building to use elevator banks going to only certain levels instead of all of them hitting every single floor. They also used a new method for the millions of bricks that would be used. They used to shut down several blocks of streets to use as a holding area for the bricks. Then by manpower, the construction workers would use wheelbarrows to haul the bricks to the building. With the state-of-the-art elevators in place, an industrious construction worker thought of using the mammoth basement levels to hold the bricks and then just place them on the elevators to haul them up to each floor.
Rockefeller Center is highlighted in my books, especially in book 3, The Pearl Dagger.
Marga Ballester [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
The iconic Christmas tree and Radio City Music Hall are two of my favorite aspects of living in New York City. What is rather unknown, is that John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s partner for the “city within a city” backed out after the Crash. Despite the Rockefellers losing at least half their fortune in the Crash, John D. Jr. backed the loan personally to build Rockefeller Center. That construction job alone accounted for about 75,000 jobs for the city. And that iconic tree? The idea actually came from the construction workers themselves in 1931. Someone brought in a tree and the workers decorated it with constructions materials like blasting caps, construction paper, and tools. John D. Jr. saw the grateful display and thought that it was a most excellent idea. It’s carried on as a tradition ever since then.
These beautiful icons that brought jobs to a broken city, beauty to the world still today, and art in all forms are something remarkable to me and I hope they are to you, too. If you want an eyewitness view to the lively and innovative city in those days, come join me and my friends, Lane and Fiorello, in the Art Deco Mysteries!
Readers, do you have a favorite Art Deco site? Or another favorite period in decorative history?
About THE PEARL DAGGER:
As the Great Depression loosens its grip on New York City, Mayor La Guardia and his team meet their greatest foe in the fight against organized crime …
Lane Sanders and her fiery boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia have managed to contain the explosive underground conspiracies of New York’s most sinister schemers. But after a seemingly harmless pinball racket claims the life of a trusted ally, a new ringleader signals the rebirth of an all-too-familiar crime network at home and across the pond …
Spurred on by the possibility of a violent syndicate spreading like wildfire through Europe, Lane sets sail for London—the city where her parents began the undercover work that led to their tragic undoing. And this time, she won’t chase down childhood nightmares without Finn Brodie, who vows to dispel his own difficult secrets abroad …
While Finn confronts a devious sibling’s plot that echoes Orson Welles’s Voodoo Macbeth, Lane discovers that a dazzling pearl dagger may wield the ultimate clue to guide their hunt for justice on two sides of the ocean.
About L.A. CHANDLAR: L.A. Chandlar is the National Best-selling author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun, released in 2017, followed by the sequel, Agatha Award nominated The Gold Pawn. Book 3, The Pearl Dagger, released in August 2019. Laurie speaks for a variety of audiences including a women’s group with the United Nations, and she is on the Sisters in Crime National Speakers Bureau. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit, is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.