405 Lexington Ave
(at 42nd Street)
New York City, NY 10174
tel: +1 212 682 3070
This classic example of Art-Deco architecture stands 77 stories and 1,048 feet (319 meters) high, looming above the busy intersection of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street. Ground was broken for its construction in 1928, during an intense competition in New York City to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Designed by architect William Van Alen to house the Chrysler Corporation, the steel-framed brick building was briefly the world's tallest, topping one rival skyscraper built at 40 Wall Street, but was swiftly overtaken by the Empire State Building in 1931. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the Chrysler Building is again the second-tallest building in New York City.
When the Chrysler Building first opened, it contained a public viewing gallery on the 71st floor, but this was closed to the public in 1945. The building itself is worth a look, however, for its elegant style and distinctive ornamentation. At its top is a series of gleaming arches that gradually diminish in size and are made of stainless steel. Narrow triangular windows pierce the arches, which end in a slim stainless steel spire reaching some 185 feet into the air. Ornaments used on the building include enormous eagle heads (replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments), pineapples, and automobile-themed images. The elegant Art-Deco lobby also merits a visit, with its gleaming expanses of marble, chrome, and painted fresco.
Photo courtesy of Chrysler Building