Architecture Art & Design

The Famous Chrysler Building in New York City

The world famous Chrysler Building! I could have included this in a post about New York City architecture or the New York City skyline. But I think it deserves an ode all its own.


The famous Chrysler Building is so unique!

The Chrysler Building a time capsule capturing the life and spirit of the Roaring Twenties. Experience the art deco architecture throughout the interior and exterior. It reminds you of a vintage car and all the stainless steel of that era. That’s exactly what Chrysler, the automobile maker, wanted. They also wanted it to be the tallest building in the world. It became the world’s tallest building from 1930 until 1931. This is when the Empire State Building was completed.

The art deco style of the 1920s is all about geometric shapes and motifs. Art Deco comes from Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratif. That is French for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, held in Paris in 1925.

In 1931 when the building was first open to the public, the lobby housed a Chrysler automobile dealership. The eagle gargoyles hanging off the building are replicas of eagle hoods that were on the 1920s Chrysler Plymouth.


The history

The building was designed by the architect William Van Alen in 1927. He received a commission from Real Estate developer William H. Reynolds. Later Reynolds sold the building lease in 1928 to Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler had built his automobile company in Detroit three years earlier. He wanted to make a statement with this building carrying his name. Both Van Alen and Chrysler wanted to make this building tall and like nothing anyone had ever seen before. So they entered the race for the tallest building in the world.

Today the building stands as a symbol of New York City. It’s a symbol of hope and optimism. It was built during the tumultuous end of the 1920s and has stood the test of time.

The current owners of the Chrysler Building are the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Tishman Speyer.


Building Specs

  • Year started: 1928
  • Year completed: 1930
  • Height (Antenna): 1,046 FT tall (319 M)
  • The interior skeleton of the building is steel, though the exterior is brick. This means the Chrysler Building remains the tallest brick building in the world.
  • It was the first man-made structure to be taller than a 1,000 FT (304.8 M).

How to visit

Looking to tour the famous Chrysler Building? Many people on the internet said that you can tour the building during normal business hours.

This was not true in my case. Things could have changed during the pandemic. A security guard greeted me as I entered the Chrysler Building. No one else was walking around the very dimly lit lobby. There were only security guards. I asked to quickly take a couple photos. See them below.

Enter at your own risk. Even if you’re not able to go inside I suggest seeing the outside of the building. It really is an amazing sight. It’s located right next to Grand Central Terminal. Take the Lexington Avenue exit and the building will be right there.

405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10174 

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