For a truly spectacular view, take a helicopter tour at dusk and ride past it
The Chrysler Building is one of New York’s most recognisable skyscrapers. A stunning example of Art Deco design, it stands at 319m and was part of a famous race in New York to be the world’s tallest building, along with 40 Wall St and the Empire State Building. The pace of construction was intense: the Chrysler building shot up at an average rate of four floors per week. And it did manage to become the world’s tallest building — although it only held the title for 11 months.
The building itself is a shrine to the automobile and the machine age. Gargoyles in the form of radiator caps, car fenders and hood ornaments serve as decorations. Stainless steel eagles, the American symbol, perch on the corners of the 61st floor, watching over the city. Inside, the lobby is filled with a rich, warm half-light that deepens the colours of its marble, onyx and amber stone, channeling 1930s New York. It holds a ceiling fresco that depicts the wonders of technology, industry and mankind’s endeavour. That endeavour can be seen in the building’s terraced crown, which consists of seven increasingly small terraced arches, each with a sunburst pattern of triangular vaulted windows, culminating in the soaring antenna which made it the first building in the world to break 1000ft.
A family affair
Although the building was the headquarters of the Chrysler corporation until the mid-1950s, Walter P. Chrysler actually paid for it himself, so that his children could inherit it. It is now owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council.
Race to the top
In a deliberate bit of myth building, the steel spire was assembled inside the building and then hoisted into position through the roof opening and fixed on top in just ninety minutes. All of a sudden it was there, and the Chrysler building was the tallest in the world — a great example of New York’s penchant for showmanship. 40 Wall Street even held a celebration for being the tallest building in the world, without realising what had happened.
Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.
Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.