As we look forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve at a dinner party at friends’ home, overlooking Central Park tonight, I was searching for an object, one object that best celebrates this glamorous Manhattan moment. It was an easy pick, the chromium-plated ‘Manhattan’ cocktail shaker service, which American star-designer Norman Bel Geddes (1893-1958) designed in 1935 for the Revere Copper and Brass Co. This icon of American modernism, which can be found in many museum collections, had come to evoke the glamour associated with the skyline of the metropolis Manhattan during the yeas of the Great Depression. The form of the tall, slender, cylindrical shaker was inspired by the shape of such typical skyscrapers as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the San Remo, which have flooded New York during those years, demonstrating fascination with the energy of urban modernity. The tray, too, with its stepdown border and sleek form, had come to mimic the setback Manhattan architecture of the so-called Art Deco years. Happy New Year to you all.
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