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Chrysler Building Nyc - Streamlined Majesty
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© Christine Till
The Chrysler Building, a skyscraper in New York City on the east side of Manhattan, is a classic example of Art Deco architecture.
In 1929, auto tycoon Walter Chrysler took part in an intense race with the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Just when it looked like the bank had captured the coveted title, workers at the Chrysler Building jacked a thin spire hidden inside the building through the top of the roof to win the contest. A few months later the Chrysler Building lost the title to the Empire State Building.
Most of the year the Chrysler Building is closed to the public, so it's a real treat to get in and see its treasures. The building's lobby is an art deco extravaganza of amber, onyx, marble and chrome, Egyptian motifs provide attractive accents, and the lobby's ceiling is completely covered with a large mural; the interior of each elevator cab in the building is decorated with different patterns of inlaid, exotic wood; the building's famous and elusive private luncheon room, the Cloud Club, has been converted to office space; the 71st floor observation deck has triangular windows, with the walls having stars and the lights appearing as saturn; and inside the highest point of the building's interior (inside the spire), only accessible by stairwell, then ladder, sits a toilet. My source is unsure of whether it is still functional, and I couldn't go up there myself to find it out, so I can only imagine what a gorgeous view of the city one must have from up there!!
In daylight, with its stainless-steel crown gleaming in the sun, or at night, when the triangular windows of that crown are lit up, lined up in seven curving rows that overlap like fish scales as they stretch up to that swordfish-nose spire, the Chrysler Building always looks like the future. It's Jazz Age poetry, rendered timeless by the ever-changing sky around it.
August 23rd, 2012
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