Rising to the skies over Midtown Manhattan, the Chrysler Building is a resplendent example of Art Deco architecture and a living testament to the industrial era of the early 20th century. Built between 1928 and 1930, this iconic skyscraper initially claimed the title of the world's tallest building, standing 1,046 feet tall, before being swiftly overtaken by the Empire State Building a year later.
The Chrysler Building is the brainchild of automotive tycoon Walter P. Chrysler and architect William Van Alen. Chrysler envisioned a monument, a building that would not only serve as the headquarters for his thriving automobile company but also reflect the ingenuity, innovation, and forward-thinking ethos that drove the success of the Chrysler Corporation.
Designed in the Art Deco style, which was at its peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, the Chrysler Building is instantly recognizable by its gleaming, terraced crown. Composed of seven radiating arches and clad in stainless steel, the crown is adorned with ornate eagles' heads and replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building's pinnacle, a needle-like spire called a vertex, was secretly constructed inside the building and hoisted into place, allowing the Chrysler Building to briefly steal the title of the world's tallest building from the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building.
The interior of the Chrysler Building is just as impressive as its exterior. Visitors stepping into the grand lobby are greeted by a magnificent spectacle of Art Deco design elements. Radiating a warm, maroon hue, the lobby is adorned with Red Moroccan marble walls and an elaborate ceiling mural by Edward Trumbull, celebrating transportation and human achievement.
Unfortunately for those eager to explore more, the building serves as a private office space, restricting public access beyond the lobby. However, the Chrysler Building remains one of the most photographed structures in New York City and is as integral to the cityscape as the Statue of Liberty or Central Park.
Why should you go?
Access to Central Park. Columbus Circle is the gateway to one of the world's most famous and beloved urban green spaces. From picnics and paddle boating in the summer to ice skating in the winter, Central Park offers a range of year-round activities for visitors of all ages.
Shopping extravaganza. The Shops at Columbus Circle, housed within Deutsche Bank Center, offer a luxurious shopping experience. With an extensive selection of high-end boutiques and flagship stores, it's a must-visit for fashion lovers and shopping enthusiasts.
Architectural splendor. Architecture buffs will appreciate the diverse range of buildings surrounding Columbus Circle. The Trump International Hotel and Tower, Deutsche Bank Center, and several other historic structures showcase a blend of modern and traditional architectural designs.
Arts and culture. The Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle highlights the richness of contemporary creativity across various disciplines and offers new ways of experiencing stories about craft, art, and design.
Historical significance. The Columbus Monument serves as a testament to the city's rich history and its connection to global exploration and adds to the circle's charm.
Breathtaking views. Columbus Circle offers awe-inspiring views of Central Park and the city skyline. The vista is particularly stunning at sunset when the cityscape begins to sparkle with lights.
Best places to visit near the Chrysler Building
Grand Central Terminal. Just a short walk away, this iconic train station is known for its beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture. Explore the Main Concourse, admire the celestial ceiling mural, and grab a bite to eat at the diverse food options available.
Empire State Building. Located several blocks southwest of the Chrysler Building, this world-famous skyscraper offers breathtaking views of New York City from its observation deck on the 86th floor. Don't miss the opportunity to take in the panoramic vistas of the cityscape.
Bryant Park. Less than a 10-minute walk from the Chrysler Building, this green oasis is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Enjoy seasonal activities, such as ice skating in winter or free outdoor movies in summer. The park also hosts various cultural events and has several cafes.
The Morgan Library & Museum. A short distance from the Chrysler Building, this historic institution houses a vast collection of rare books, manuscripts, and artwork. Explore the stunning architecture and appreciate the literary and artistic treasures on display.
United Nations Headquarters. Located on the eastern shore of Manhattan, the UN Headquarters offers guided tours that provide insight into the work of this international organization. Explore the General Assembly Hall, Security Council Chamber, and tranquil gardens.
Rockefeller Center. A few blocks northwest of the Chrysler Building, this famous complex is home to the iconic "Top of the Rock" observation deck, which provides stunning views of Manhattan. You can also explore the shops, restaurants, and seasonal attractions, such as the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Times Square. Situated a short distance from the Chrysler Building, Times Square is the vibrant heart of New York City. Experience the dazzling billboards, street performers, Broadway theaters, and a plethora of shops and restaurants in this bustling entertainment district.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Located about a mile from the Chrysler Building, this renowned museum showcases an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. Explore masterpieces by artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Warhol, and many more.
What are the most interesting and unique facts about Chrysler Building?
Despite being surpassed in overall height by several later buildings, the Chrysler Building is still the tallest brick building in the world with a steel framework.
Despite its size and complexity, the Chrysler Building was built at an incredibly fast pace. It was said to have risen at an average rate of four floors per week.
What is the Chrysler Building used for now?
The Chrysler Building in New York City was primarily used for office space and commercial purposes.
What famous movies has the Chrysler building been in?
King Kong (1933). In the original King Kong film, the giant ape climbs the Empire State Building, not the Chrysler Building. However, the Chrysler Building does appear in the film as part of the New York City skyline.
Spider-Man (2002). The Chrysler Building is shown in the background during various scenes featuring Spider-Man swinging through New York City.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). Similar to the previous Spider-Man films, the Chrysler Building is seen as part of the city's skyline, but it remains intact.
These are just a few examples, and the Chrysler Building has made appearances in many other movies, often serving as a symbol of New York City's architecture and urban landscape.