New York is a city renowned for owning some of the most famous buildings in the world such as the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, and of course the Chrysler Building. This magnificent Art Deco skyscraper is almost 320 metres high and was for a (short) time the tallest building in New York. Today, it remains one of the city's most iconic landmarks, standing proudly in the centre of Manhattan with its tall spire pointing skyward. No doubt about it: you won’t be able to miss it, even if you're going to visit New York in 5 days – quite the program!
The history of the Chrysler Building
In 1927, William H. Reynolds commissioned William Van Alen to build the Chrysler Building. Actually, Chrysler Building was not supposed to be its name back then.
In 1928 however, Walter Chrysler, president of the Chrysler automobile company, took over the project and decided to expand the building into the tallest skyscraper in New York.
At the time, competition was fierce and the 40 Wall Street building – or Trump building – was even supposed to surpass the Chrysler Building. In fact, it is only thanks to the addition of its iconic 60-metre-high spire that the Chrysler Building achieved its record-breaking height at its opening on 27 May 1930, rising to 319 metres.
This record would only stand for one year though, for in 1931, another building managed to reach 381 metres in height — the Empire State Building.
An incredible Art Deco building
At the time of its construction, the Chrysler Building was a true architectural feat for several reasons. Its size, of course, but also the scale of the project, which required more than 20,000 tons of steel. But beyond this, it is above all the building’s Art Deco style that continues to leave its mark today and makes it the favourite building of many New Yorkers..
This skyscraper is obviously unlike any other thanks to its imposing spire, of course, but also its surprising decorations such as the pineapples on the 24th floor. Some of the ornaments are a direct reference to Chrysler vehicles – the 31st floor features the same eagles that were on the bonnets of the cars of the time, for example.
In fact, the entire ground floor was even dedicated to a vehicle exhibition during the time the building was owned by the car company. Today, the Chrysler Building is one of the most photographed buildings in New York City, and it is also possible to visit parts of it.
VisitING the Chrysler Building
A tour of the Chrysler Building will reveal its beautiful interior ground-floor decorations, with its Art Deco lobby, impressive light fittings and stunning lift doors. An information board also gives the history of the building as well as some key figures, but as the building is mainly residential and office space, it is not possible to fully visit it.
There’s something to look forward to though – an observation deck on the 61st floor of the skyscraper should open soon: it was approved for construction in 2020.
How to get to the Chrysler Building?
The Chrysler Building is located in Manhattan, at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. The exact address is 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, 10 174.
It is very close to Grand Central Terminal, and therefore extremely well connected. You can get there by using the New York metro, with lines 4, 5, 6, 7 or S by getting off at Grand Central — 42nd St. station.
We've come to the end of this article! I hope I was able to help you in your search for information. If you are currently planning your trip and don't know where to stay in New York, I recommend you read my article on this topic – in it, I share my favourite neighbourhoods and accommodations. Last tip: do think about purchasing a New York City Pass – they will certainly help you save money on your visits to the most touristy places in the city 😉