Chrysler Building, New York City

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  • Chrysler Building - an entrance
    Chrysler Building - an entrance
    by toonsarah
  • Chrysler Building
    Chrysler Building
    by toonsarah
  • Elevators in Lobby
    Elevators in Lobby
    by TexasDave
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    My favourite skyscraper

    by toonsarah Updated Nov 12, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Chrysler Building
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    This is for me by far the most attractive of New York’s skyscrapers, and is the first I look for whenever I see a photo of that wonderful skyline. On our first visit to the city many years ago we stayed very near here, and when we came home I found myself really missing having this lovely piece of architecture on my doorstep.

    The Chrysler Building was constructed between 1928 and 1930 in the Art Deco style, and for the first few months of its existence was the tallest building in the world (before being overtaken by the Empire State Building). I found a quote (on the website below) which said that Walter P. Chrysler “wanted a provocative building which would not merely scrape the sky but positively pierce it.” Wonderful – that’s exactly what this building achieves, in my view

    Some of the elements in the decoration are typical of the Art Deco period, e.g. the use of a stylised sun-burst motif, but others are unique and reflect the building’s parent company. The extensive use of what appears to be chrome (but is in fact stainless steel) references a car, of course, and towards the top of the building you can see sculptures modelled after 1929 Chrysler hub and radiator caps. The most distinctive feature is perhaps the gargoyles in the shape of American eagles that peer out from just below the sun-burst spire. The building looks especially great in sunlight, when the chrome finish reflects the light so brightly, and at sunset when it really glows – see photo 5 for a view of it from the Top of the Rock.

    When the building first opened, there was a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, but this was closed to the public in 1945. But even if you can’t go up this Chrysler Building as you can with some of New York’s other iconic skyscrapers, you can go inside to the lobby area, although when we were there on a Sunday access was restricted to the immediate vicinity of the doors. If you like the Art Deco style a look inside is a must, as it is stunning – clad in different marbles, onyx and amber, and with so much interesting detailing (see photo 4 for an example). But whichever way you look at it, this is certainly a beautiful building.

    [please do look at the website below for loads of stunning photos, including several taken during construction]

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building

    by richiecdisc Written May 24, 2010

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    Chrysler Building from Brooklyn Bridge at dusk

    Though the first man-made structure to surpass 1000 feet, the Chrysler Building at a cost of $20,000,000 had but a brief stint out of The Empire State Building's considerable shadow. It stood as the tallest building in the world for only the eleven months after its completion and prior to its more famous neighbor's construction. The Art Deco masterpiece is none-the-less a glistening beauty and consistently ranked amongst the architectural favorites in the United States. In fact, one noted poll has it ranked number nine. Number one you ask? The Empire State Building. It's still my wife's favorite and you can get great shots of it from the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. It is one gorgeous building and is always a standout on the horizon of New York's formidable skyline.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    The most beautiful building in NYC?

    by sue_stone Updated Jan 17, 2007

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    The Chrysler Building
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    My favourite building in New York would have to be the gorgeous Chrysler Building.

    It was built by Walter P. Chrysler, the car manufacturer, as a status symbol and completed in 1930.

    It was the highest building in the world for a year, until the Empire State Building was completed. It is currently the 23rd tallest.

    The Chrysler building is one of the last skyscrapers in the Art Deco style. There are gargoyles (eagles) leaping out towards the top of the building that depict Chrysler car ornaments and the tall spire is modeled on a radiator grille.

    We had a look in the lobby - impressive Art Deco - and felt envious of the office workers heading up to their desk in one of the worlds most beautiful buildings.

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  • csordila's Profile Photo

    The finest skyscraper in the world

    by csordila Updated Feb 24, 2009

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    The main lobby with mural on ceiling
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    An art deco masterpiece created during the jazz age of the late 1920s by William Van Alen and finished in 1930, the Chrysler Building is one of New York's most iconic and beloved skyscrapers. The 319 m high architecture - the world's tallest brick building - is considered by many architects and tall building fans, to be the finest skyscraper in the world. The stainless steel metal ornamentation of the tower is based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles.

    On the survey researching the favourite architectural memories of the US, it achieved the ninth place, ahead of Congress Library and the WTC towers.

    The observatory under the steel-clad spire has long been closed to the public. Legend has it that automobile tycoon Chrysler ordered it to be closed the day the Empire State Building surpassed the Chrysler Building in height. The object of the rumour, that there is a small bathroom in the peak of the skyscraper with a window overlooking the city.

    The dark lobby with red Moroccan marble walls and yellow Siena marble floors is worth a visit. The ceiling covered by an elaborate and confusing mural, entitled, "Energy, Result, Workmanship and Transportation,", which contains itself the building, airplanes, and an automobile assembly line.

    The elevators are each lined with a different inlay of wood, each from a different part of the world.
    "Here is a city within a city.... Everything, that human ingenuity can conceive or money can buy, is provided"( W. Chrysler).
    Taller buildings have been built since, but none of them is as fine as the Chrysler Building.

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  • bct341's Profile Photo

    The Chrysler Building....My favorite NYC building

    by bct341 Updated Apr 10, 2004

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    Chrysler Building at Night

    Definitely the most dramatic and beautiful building that makes up the NYC city skyline. An architectual wonder with its unique top, and gargoyles and was a blending of old and the more modern styles of architecture. It was built in 1930 and has 77 floors. And, although it is only the 18th tallest building in the world, it is one of the finest.

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  • spgood301's Profile Photo

    It sure looks like the Empire State Building

    by spgood301 Written Apr 18, 2005

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    Chrysler Building, taken from 42nd Street

    The Chrysler Building was built around the same time as the Empire State Building; in fact, for a short period it was NY's tallest building. It's a little further uptown from the ESB, and is a beautiful building in it's own right. Along with the ESB, it owns NY's skyline.

    Think for a second about the brave people who constructed these huge buildings, in the 1920's and 1930's. They did their work so far above the city. As someone who's incredibly afraid of heights, I must salute these people-without their hard work and talent, NY wouldn't be the city it is today.

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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    Many a New Yorker's pride and favourite

    by Christophe_Ons Updated Mar 8, 2004

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    Chrysler building at dusk
    4 more images

    This breathtaking stainless steel Art-Deco skyscraper really stands out in the New York skyline. Its gargoyles, winged radiator caps and nightly-lit spire must be seen to be believed... awesome. The lobby, which at one point was a showroom for Chrysler automobiles, is accessible to the public and wonderfully decorated with marble, chromed steel, granite and paintings on the ceiling.

    Some facts :
    It was briefly the world's tallest building (ca. 320 m) when completed in 1930, until the completion of the Empire State Building (ca. 381 m).
    Architect William Van Alen outsmarted his rival H. Craig Severance in a competition to build the tallest building, as the Chrysler's spire was built in secrecy inside of the building and then lifted to the top.

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  • Mahieu's Profile Photo

    What a beautiful top!

    by Mahieu Written Nov 17, 2004

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    The Chrysler Building is best seen from some distance. From the top of the Empire State Building or from the Brooklyn Heights, you can admire its beautiful top. The angled windows are illuminated at night.
    The Chrysler Building has been the highest scyscraper for some time, until it was surpassed by the Empire State Building.
    It has been erected in 1930.

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  • butterflykizzez04's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building!!

    by butterflykizzez04 Written Mar 27, 2005

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    taken from sidewalk on 42nd street.

    Now we didn't actually go into the Chrysler building. We were walking down 42nd street towards "Grand central Station" and there it was. I took a picture from the street. It was not on our agenda to tour.
    This 77-story Art Deco-style building celebrates the automobile as well as the modern skyscrapers. In 1930, it became the world's tallest building but it lasted only a few months until the Empire State building was completed.
    If you get a chance to enter atleast the lobby you should. we have put it on our list to check out this april.

    only the lobby is open. It is free.
    8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. daily.

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  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building

    by mrclay2000 Updated Apr 12, 2005

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    images of the Chrysler Building

    Not far from the Empire State Building is the Chrysler Building. As the first skyscraper to top a 1,000 feet in height, it was once the city's tallest, but now it is almost drowned by other towering marvels. Otherwise the tower is without considerable distinction, save for the triangular panels on its spire, which give the Chrysler Building its distinguished crown. Built in an Art Deco style, the public first deplored this building (as with the WTC) until they finally accepted it in time. For me the stainless steel lobby and chromium nickel gargoyles are garish and unhappy throwbacks to a time when Americans began to approve "fanciness" over function in automobiles even though many stood in soup lines and job lines when the building was completed.

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building

    by madamx Updated Oct 24, 2005

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    We would often use this distinctive building as our landmark that we were heading out the right way from our hotel in midtown.

    At 77 stories and 1046 feet, the Chrysler Building was at one time the tallest building in the world, until 1930 when the Empire State Building was completed. As Walter P. Chrysler wished, the steel spire of the building was designed to resemble a car radiator grill. The lobby was completely restored in 1978, where Chrysler cars were once displayed.

    If you are an Art Deco fan, this building is a total must-see. Don't miss out on the gorgeous exotic wood inlayed elevator doors. You can't get right up to them due to security gates, but you can get close enough for a good look.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Best Free Thing #19

    by goodfish Updated Mar 27, 2009

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    Mural, Chrysler Building

    When it was completed, this was the tallest building in the world - until the Empire State Building opened its doors just eleven months later. But while the Empire might reach higher, it falls short of what is easily the most beautiful structure in Manhattan. With its graceful, arcing spire, glowering gargoyles and intricate detailing, this Art Deco masterpiece is one of the most beloved and photographed icons of New York. It was also one of my biggest disappointments as visitors weren't allowed much farther than the door so all I was able to see of the interior, from the vestibule, was a bit of the amazing, red-marbled lobby and this piece of mural on the ceiling. Worth the trip? Absolutely.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building-an art deco classic

    by Dabs Updated Dec 31, 2004

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    Chrysler Building

    I think this is my favorite building in New York City, I love the art deco details from the silver gargoyles and stainless steel spire on the the exterior to the beautifully restored interior lobby. It was built in 1928-1930, the 77 floor building was briefly the world's tallest building until the Empire State Building was completed just months later.

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  • ForestqueenNYC's Profile Photo

    Chrysler Building

    by ForestqueenNYC Updated Oct 2, 2005

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    3 more images

    This is one of the most beautiful buildings in New York City. It is worth walking over to see it. In addition you will also pass Grand Central Railway Station which is another very lovely building. Be sure and notice the relflection of the buildings in the windows of the Hyatt Hotel.

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  • FRONA's Profile Photo

    Lovely views

    by FRONA Written Jul 15, 2004

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    chrysler building

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the race for the tallest building in the world started and the Chrysler Building was the first building to top the then highest building, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. New York would keep the highest building in the world until 1974, when the Sears Tower was built in Chicago.

    For Walter P. Chrysler, from the car manufacturer, building the highest building in the world was a status symbol. The Chrysler building was in a race with the Bank of Manhattan for obtaining the title of highest building in the world. It looked like the Bank of Manhattan would win the race, with an expected height of 283 meters against the around 230 meters for the Chrysler building. But the spire of the Chrysler building was constructed in secret inside the tower.

    Just one week after the Bank of Manhattan had reached its top, the spire of the Chrysler building was put in place, making it 319 meters high, thus beating the Bank of Manhattan as the highest building in the world. It would not keep this title for long: one year later the Empire State Building was erected.

    The Chrysler building is one of the last skyscrapers in the Art Deco style. The gargoyles depict Chrysler car ornaments and the spire is modeled on a radiator grille. It has been restored in 1995 and it glitters again like it must have in the thirties.

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