The Chrysler Building is a supertall skyscraper in New York City. It was the first supertall (buildings taller than 1000 feet) to be built in the world, and it is widely regarded as the most beautiful skyscraper in the city by many New Yorkers.
Walter Chrysler of Chrysler Motors Corporation wanted a building that would be a fitting symbol of his machine-age empire. Architect Willam Van Alen set out to erect the world’s tallest building and had immediate competition from a bank tower going up at 40 Wall Street with the same goal in mind.
Chrysler Building Tours
Visitors can view the building from the outside, and the lobby is open to the public for free, where they can admire the art deco details and an ornate ceiling mural by Edward Trumbull. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Chrysler Building lobby is open to the public (excluding federal holidays). There are no tickets required to enter the lobby.
The remainder of the structure is leased to businesses and is not accessible to visitors. There are no guided tours of the building. For tourists, there is no access beyond the lobby.
Chrysler Building History
Van Alen had a big surprise that was kept from the media and the public. He secretly built a spire inside the building. At the last minute, to everyone’s amazement, the 185-ft spire was hoisted through the roof and bolted into place. This made it the world’s tallest building at 1046 feet, 119 feet taller than the Wall Street Building.
The victory was short-lived, however. The Empire State Building surpassed the Chrysler Building in height just 12 months later.
The Chrysler Building is named after the Chrysler Corporation (now known as Fiat Chrysler), one of the world’s largest automakers; it was the founder of Chrysler Corporation who proposed and funded the building’s construction. For more than two decades, the building housed the Chrysler Corporation’s headquarters.
The elaborate ornamentation at the top of the Chrysler Building continues to make it one of the most popular buildings in New York City.
Chrysler Building Facts
The Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Tishman Speyer now own the Chrysler Building. It is primarily an office building that houses the corporate headquarters of several major investment and real estate firms.
- Built from 1929 to 1930
- Constructed of steel with brick and stainless steel on the exterior
- Height: 1046 ft
- Number of Floors: 77
- Height Record: Tallest building in the world at completion, overtaken by the Empire State Building just one year later. Currently the third tallest building in New York City.
- Architect: William Van Alen
- Style: Art Deco