The Chrysler Building’s construction began in 1929 and was completed just one year later in 1930. Its silver spire is symbolic of the awe-inspiring style that art deco symbolizes and is an icon of the New York City skyline.
The Chrysler Building epitomizes the 1930s automotive industry, as its developer, the Chrysler Corporation, wanted the design to be symbolic of their cars. There was a decorated granite lobby that was used as a showroom for the latest Chrysler vehicles and hood ornaments made to resemble radiator caps protruding from the exterior of different floors of the building.
This impressive structure, located at 42nd Street and Lexington Ave. has an intriguing history. The building boom of the 1930s was very competitive in nature, as there were strides by developers to label theirs as the tallest in the world.
The two major contenders, The Bank of Manhattan (now The Trump Building) in downtown Manhattan and the Chrysler Building were in a stiff battle to classify theirs as the tallest.
As the buildings were reaching their pinnacle in height, the architects of the Bank of Manhattan Trust wanted to ensure that their building would be higher than the Chrysler Building, so they increased the initial height of 840 feet (68 stories) to 927 feet (71 stories), making their building the tallest in the world upon completion in May 1930.
But Walter B. Chrysler had an ambitious plan to maintain that the Chrysler Building would be the tallest. Shortly after the Bank of Manhattan was completed, Chrysler secretly constructed a seven story, 27 ton spire inside the building which, when hoisted up, would top out the Bank of Manhattan by 119 feet and make the Chrysler Building the world’s tallest at 77 stories and 1,046 feet high.
No doubt these two skyscrapers had their moments of fame, only to be topped out by the ever famous Empire State Building not one year later.