Is the Chrysler Building New York City’s finest building? While many regard it as such, there are many aspects for consideration. Embodiment of the New York spirit… check. Aesthetics… check. Architectural boldness and detail… check. Endless pop culture reference… double check. Chrysler Building New York City has it all. The jury may be out as far the greatest structure in the city, but it is common knowledge that the Chrysler Building is the best skyscraper NYC has to offer. Not to mention its great location near Grand Central Station and numerous top notch New York City hotels.
Chrysler Building at Night
Aside from the Empire State Building, this Art Deco masterpiece is the most recognizable skyscraper in Manhattan. “Visually interesting” doesn’t begin to describe the way this building magnetically draws cameras and eyes alike. Featured prominently for years in the Saturday Night Live opening credits, Chrysler Building New York City is an icon worth your time during your stay in the city, particularly if you can catch a glimpse of it in the New York City skyline at night.
Chrysler Building history is almost as intriguing as the look of the building itself. William Van Alen, the architect behind the Chrysler Building, was intensely attempting to build the tallest building in New York and the world. In 1930, this race for glory among architects and developers included those involved with the building of 40 Wall Street, which was planned to finish two feet higher than the Chrysler Building. In the most famous piece of Chrysler Building history and lore, Van Alen secretly constructed a 125 foot spire inside the Chrysler Building, and hoisted it to the top upon completion, making the Chrysler Building the tallest structure in the world. For all the trickery, this title lasted only a year, as the Empire State Building was finished the next year, in 1931. Now the Chrysler Building is the second tallest building in New York, a distinction it sorrowfully regained after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Aside from its height, Chrysler Building history also includes the architect’s bold decision to include such visual decoration without making the building seem the least bit gaudy. The 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue landmark includes immense steel gargoyles that mimic Chrysler hood ornaments of the time, located at the corners of the 61st floor. Actress Naomi Watts recently stood atop one of these Gargoyles for a magazine photo, adding just another page to the history of Chrysler Building New York City. The triangular lighting built into the structure, in addition to the floodlights that can change color for any occasion, make the Chrysler Building stand out in the midtown skyline.
In a recent survey conducted by New York’s Skyscraper Museum, the Chrysler Building was chosen as the overwhelming favorite building among New Yorkers who work in the building and design industry. If architecture is one of your reasons for visiting the city, plan a New York City day trip to visit the Skyscraper Museum, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and a few of your favorite other structures. All New York City tours of architecture will inevitably lead to the Chrysler Building. When visiting the Chrysler Building, don’t miss the elegant lobby, boasting an impressive ceiling mural. The famous elevators in the Chrysler Building are also something you must experience, though there is no longer an operational observation deck at the end of the ride.
The best place to get a good look at the majesty of the Chrysler Building itself is from the Empire State Building’s observation deck. But don’t stop there. It is worth the few blocks’ walk to enjoy your own up-close encounter with Chrysler Building New York City.