I know, I know. The Empire State Building has long claimed the honour of New York City’s most iconic building, but for my money, the Chrysler Building leaves the ESB for dead. For me, there is something incredibly attractive about the Chrysler Building as it rises high over the streets of Manhattan. I think it has to do with the shape and colour of the building’s top floors as they catch and reflect the rays of the sun in a way the Empire State Building doesn’t.
The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper, located on the east side of Manhattan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. For 11 months it could lay claim to being the world’s tallest building (at 319 metres/1,047 feet), before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931.
The building (declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976), is recognized for its terraced crown, which is composed of seven radiating terraced arches. The stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern featuring triangular vaulted windows, which give the building its iconic crown.
|Four of the decorative eagles overlooking lower Manhattan|
The distinctive ornamentation of the building is based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentations are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps.
The Chrysler Building was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 m). Less than a year after it opened to the public on May 27, 1931, the Chrysler Building was surpassed in height by the Empire State Building, but the Chrysler Building is still the world’s tallest steel-supported brick building.