The Chrysler Building is a stunning skyscraper in New York City situated on 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, a busy part of Manhattan only a few blocks from Grand Central Station. Completed in 1930 and constructed in a sleek Art Deco style, the Chrysler Building was the globe's tallest building until the building was replaced by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is even now the 3rd tallest structure in New York City at 1,048 feet and 77 floors.
The history of the Chrysler Building is an intriuging story. The Chrysler Building was initiated by developer William Reynolds, who hired William Van Alen as an architect for the building in 1928. Soon after, Reynolds sold the lease and the development plans to Chrysler, president of the Chrysler Corporation. Interestingly, the building never belonged by the Chrysler Corporation, but was instead paid for by Walter Chrysler personally to make it a legacy to his descendants. Unfotunately though, the family eventually sold the building in 1947. Since there have been numerous owners in the building's history. Today the Abu Dhabi Investment Council is the primary owner of the building.
Being that Chrysler was the chairman of the Chrysler auromotive company, he wanted the building's design to echo the design of his cars, like the hood ornaments on the 1929 Chrysler Plymouth. The Chrysler building's today is a reminder of American ingenuity and a past era of American integrity. As a testament to it's beauty, well-known photographer Margaret Bourke-White was photographed on one of the building's gargoyles, which are on the 61st floor. The gargoyles themselves were designed by Cesley Bonestell.
The Chrysler building was initially only designed to be 925 feet tall, but when Walter P. Chrysler found out that 40 Wall Street was going to be 927 feet tall, he decided to build his building taller. The building’s true height was kept a secret up until it would be too late for the builders of 40 Wall Street to compensate. The building’s spire was actually constructed inside its upper floors, and then raised into place to give the building over a hundred feet of extra height - beating 40 Wall Street and adding luster to the history of the Chrysler Building.
Beneath the spire is the uniquely gorgeous Chrysler Building Crown, designed with seven sunburst arches covered in a brilliant silvery metal made out of of chrome, nickel and steel. Chrysler was the first to use this metal, known as Nirosta. There are thirty-two elevators with each one decorated with wood from a different destination around the world. Chrysler Building history also has space for a small intrigue- the top of the building had a private lounge space, known as the “Cloud Club” for relaxing. Also, during Prohibition there was a hidden room where individuals could indulge in a forbidden tipple. Rumors are that this room still exists.
Construction began on September 19, 1928 and was finished on May 20, 1930, ending with Chrysler and Van Alen’s clever spire play. The building was raised very quickly, growing four stories every week. Nevertheless, unlike the Empire State Building on 34th Street, no workers were killed during the Chrysler building’s construction. The Chrysler Building has been a National Historic Landmark ever since 1976 and welcomes guests to tour the Chrysler Building and discover its history.