Art Deco beauty of an East Side subway entrance

Art Deco skyscrapers stand proud like shiny monuments across the Manhattan skyline. But Art Deco subway stations? Those are harder to find.


The lucky commuters who take the E or 6 train at Lexington Avenue and 51st Street get to pass this stylized Art Deco subway entrance.

Thanks to the sleek design and surrounding buildings, it’s always the end of the Jazz Age.


The sign is right outside the General Electric Building (formerly the RCA Victor Building) a 1931 Art Deco beauty, with its decorative bursts along the facade meant to represent the awesome power of radio waves and electricity.

And that wonderful clock, with forearms that stretch time!

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12 Responses to “Art Deco beauty of an East Side subway entrance”

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    A Subway Entry like this should have ‘Landmark’ status. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all municipal structures had similar thought and beauty in their designs. New York City did great justice to the handsome, clever nearby building. Brilliant!
    The famous Metro Entryways in Paris – from the earlier Art Nouveau movement – are considered glorious treasures. One was dismantled (making it ‘mobile’ for a period) and briefly included in an International Art Exhibit showcasing Nouveau’s most outstanding examples.

    • Tim Says:

      Yes. Several of the original Hector Guimard designed Paris Metro entrances have been dismantled and can be found all over the world. Montreal is using some for their original purpose as Metro entrances. MoMA in NYC has one as does the NGA’s sculpture garden in Washington DC.

      • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

        OOOh TIM – I am so pleased you added the info on the Nouveau Metro Entry pieces. (I saw one in a Washington, D.C. art exhibit and was agog!) This NYC Deco Entry may be a much lesser effort (size, detail, etc…) but is certainly a standout! (The ‘EphemeralNewYork’ has a terrific eye for overlooked glories.) Not everything in the world (like this particular NYC Deco jewel) needs to be HUGE to be considered a splendid idea and worthy of serious recognition.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        Yes, thank you both for your input. Landmark status for these small, subtle jewels please!

  2. Judith Redfern Says:

    Sooo beautiful. Maybe I’ll get to New York one day and see it for myself! So glad it survived.

  3. Geoff Siegel Says:

    The GE building you have pictured was never the RCA Victor building. That is the building that is at Rockerfeller Center. Thjis building is on Lexington Ave and was always the GE Building

  4. wensube Says:

    Yes, this is a gem and should be landmarked. Too bad we put so little thought and craftsmanship into public works today.

  5. alechcbaker Says:

    Hi, I enjoy New Yorks art deco buildings and everything in its style. I hope this will last as long as possible. This way of architecture is really one of the most beautiful in the world. Thanks for sharing this images with us. Have a great Sunday

  6. A Salvation Army Art Deco fortress on 14th Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] New York is resplendent with Art Deco: movie theaters, offices, apartment residences, and even subway entrances. […]

  7. Chip Says:

    This is why there is confusion about the name: at the time of the building’s design, RCA was a subsidiary of GE. GE was subsequently forced to divest RCA due to lawsuits. But before RCA moved into the building they switched to Rockefeller Center (RCA Building). GE, which still owned the Lexington Avenue building, took it over for themselves.

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