This is our favorite landmark or maybe second favorite (the Brooklyn Bridge may be #1). The Chrysler Building is not far from our home, and we have found that we use it as our beacon. Just as we all use the mountains in Denver to know which way is west, we use the Chrysler Building to get our bearings when we come out of a subway stop so we know which way to turn to head homeward.
It was built in 1930 by Walter Chrysler for his corporation’s headquarters, and for that year it stood as the tallest building in New York. Mr. Chrysler also had a lavish apartment on the second floor of the buiding, and there was a restaurant for employees. Today all 77 floors consist of offices occupied by traders and attorneys and businessmen, and there is no access to the public except for the first floor. According to the doorman I talked with, there is a dentist who has his office near the top, and some of his patients go to him for that very reason.
The first floor is the showcase for the Art Deco style of art and architecture. The walls are granite with ornate accents. There is a stylized clock with a sign that says “Time” which was undoubtedly considered modern back in the 30s.
The elevator doors are very ornate and consist of three or four types of precious inlaid woods.
The ceiling mural is over 100′ long and was cemented to the ceiling. It is composed of paintings of airplanes and other technological marvels of the early part of the century.
Outside are large gargoyles about half way up the sides of the edifice. Other touches include chrome sculptures reminiscent of hubcaps. During the day the building’s sharply pointed dome is unique along the skyline, but at night the brightly-lighted arched windows are magical and romantic, a symbol of this great city.
“The Chrysler Bulding is dedicated to world commerce and industry. It was created with a desire to meet the demand of business executives of today who, with their sensitive activities, must have the most favorable office surroundings and conditions….” Walter P. Chrysler, May 1930