New India Assurance Building
Art Deco is not an architectural style most people would associate with India. But, in fact, Mumbai has one of the largest collections of Art Deco buildings in the world, second only to Miami.
The Art Deco buildings on Marine Drive and those along the nearby park, the Oval Maidan, were designated last year by Unesco as a World Heritage site, and activists hope the new designation will help preserve the neighborhood. According to The New York Times, Atul Kumar, a resident of Marine Drive, founded the nonprofit Art Deco Mumbai in 2016 to raise awareness of these buildings on social media, as well as to document them in an online repository. The final list is estimated to total 600 buildings, built between 1930 and 1950 with streamlined forms and geometric motifs.
“What is special about Mumbai’s architecture, and about Art Deco in particular, is that unlike Delhi it is not all monuments or public buildings,” Mr. Kumar told The New York Times. “It is homes and schools and cinemas, spaces we have lived in, grown up with and can relate to.”
What the Times did not report is that many Baghdadi Jews lived in the Art Deco buildings near the Maidan because the neighborhood was in walking distance of the Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue. During our visits to Mumbai, we pass by the Regal Cinema, the New India Assurance Building and the Maidan on our Shabbat walks, and stop to admire Mumbai's architectural and Jewish heritage.
Read the full New York Times article here.