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The Chrysler Building New York

The NY Chrysler Building Tower

New York City's iconic Chrysler Building that was opened in 1930 on East 42nd Street is seen in Manhattan, New York, US, Jan. 9, 2019. Mike Segar, Reuters

Chrysler Building Plaque

"The Chrysler Building" Bronze Panel by Gregg LeFevre - image sourced from Natasha Marco via Flickr

The Chrysler Building is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture. Designed by architect William Van Alen for the Chrysler Corporation. When the ground breaking occurred September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was erected at an average rate of four floors per week) no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.

The distinctive ornamentation of the building is based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments. On the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding

Chrysler Hood Ornament on 1929 Roadster

Winged 1929 Chrysler 75 Deluxe Roadster Hood Ornament in situ - image sourced from Pinterest

1929 Chrysler hood ornament

Winged 1929 Chrysler 75 Deluxe Roadster Hood Ornament/Radiator Cap - image sourced from

Hood Ornament of Chrysler Roadster as unterpreted on the Chrysler Building

'On the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps, and this is one of those caps. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976'. Image and strapline sourced from

Taxis lining up outside the Chrysler Building

Taxis lining up outside the Chrysler Building at street level - image sourced from

Chrysler radiator cap in full glory

Showing the full splendour of the artwork on the building and the decorative radiator cap corner ornamentation - image sourced from and copyright of 2013 Chris Petsos New York

Chrysler Building for Sale

Snippet as announced in the Daily Mail on 11th January 2019 - bit of a shock this, a truly iconic piece to be sold to anyone?

The Chrysler Building, one of the most iconic structures in New York, has been put up for sale by its owners.

The owners (Emirati investment firm Mubadala and real estate group Tishman Speyer) did not set a selling price, a source close to the sale told AFP on condition of anonymity, confirming a report that was first published in The Wall Street Journal. The building in midtown Manhattan, considered an Art Deco masterpiece, was acquired in 2008 by Mubadala, which paid $800 million for a 90 percent stake. Tishman Speyer, which had bought the building outright for a reported $210-250 million in 1997, retained a 10 percent stake. Neither firm would offer a comment when contacted by AFP. Tishman Speyer has hired real estate group CBRE to manage the sale of the building at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The announcement comes at a difficult time for the New York real estate market, especially in Manhattan. Development of the Hudson Yards neighborhood, on Manhattan's West Side, will soon be complete, with more than 1.6 million square meters of new office and residential space. That has driven prices down even further for older buildings.

Another factor for potential buyers to consider: the land on which the Chrysler Building stands is one-third owned by Cooper Union, a private university. In 1997, Tishman Speyer negotiated a long-term lease with the university that ran through 2147. That deal called for the annual rent to rise from $7.8 million in 2017 to $32.5 million from 2019-2027, according to documents seen by AFP. The value of the land alone was estimated at $679 million in late 2017. The Chrysler Building, which opened in 1930, stands 1,046 feet. It was the world's tallest building, but only for 11 months, when it was dethroned by the Empire State Building, also in Manhattan. The building was a personal project for Walter Chrysler, the founder of the car manufacturer that bears his name, but remained separate from the auto business. Source : © Agence France-Presse

Chrysler Building put up for sale

By Chris Isidore and Zahraa Alkhalisi, CNN Business | Updated 9th January, 2019

New York (CNN Business)The Chrysler Building, the art deco skyscraper that has been a key part of the New York City skyline for nearly 90 years, is up for sale. The building has been owned by Mubadala, a Abu Dhabi investment fund, and real estate firm Tishman Speyer since 2008. They have hired CBRE Group to sell the property, according to Darcy Stacom, chairman of CBRE's New York City capital markets group. The sales plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. "Clearly, it's an iconic building with tremendous reputational value for the right buyer," said Brian Lott, spokesperson for Mubadala

When the building was completed in 1930, it was the tallest building in the world, a title it held for about a year until the Empire State Building opened less than a mile away in midtown Manhattan. Today it is only the sixth tallest building in the city, and will drop down another notch later this year when a new office tower opens on the city's west side. But it is still one of the city's most recognizable buildings. It is famous for its triangle-shaped, vaulted windows worked into the stylized crown, along with its distinctive eagle gargoyles near the top. It has been featured prominently in many films, including Men in Black 3, Spider-Man, Armageddon, Two Weeks Notice and Independence Day.
But it finds itself competing for tenants with more modern office space. The previous sale took place just before the 2008 financial meltdown led to a plunge in real estate prices. Still there have been a number of high profile skyscrapers purchased for top dollar in recent years, including the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which Chinese firm Anbang Insurance purchased in 2016 for nearly $2 billion, and the Willis Tower in Chicago, which was formerly known as Sears Tower -- once the world's tallest. Blackstone Group (BX) bought it for $1.3 billion 2015.

The Chrysler Building was headquarters of the American automaker until 1953, but it was named for and owned by Chrysler chief Walter Chrysler, not the company itself. Walter Chrysler had set out to build the tallest building in the world, a competition at that time with another Manhattan skyscraper under construction at 40 Wall Street at the south end of Manhattan. He kept secret the plans for the spire that would grace the top of the building, building it inside the structure and out of view of the public until 40 Wall Street was complete. Once the competitor could rise no higher, the spire of the Chrysler building was raised into view, giving it the title. Source : CNN

Chrysler Building - completed 1930

Artist: William Van Alen

This Art Deco icon of the New York skyline was designed by William Van Alen, a French-trained American architect previously known for designing several eye-catching skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan. The building was completed in less than two years since roughly four floors were completed per week, which at the time was a surprisingly rapid rate.

As the skyscraper was financed by Walter P. Chrysler, founder of the automobile company that bears his name, and the architectural details were designed to reference Chrysler products. This includes the building's gargoyles, modeled after the Chrysler hood ornament, and details along the exterior of the thirty-first floor that are reminiscent of radiator caps. The most recognizable aspects of the building are the seven arched crowns at its top, each of which bears a distinctive sunburst pattern. The arches of the shimmering spire evoke spinning chrome hubcaps as well as rising suns, and the slick, geometric quality of the crown reflects the drive toward streamlined, machine-age elegance typical of American Art Deco.

Many of the iconic buildings in New York City were built at the height of the Art Deco movement. In countries such as India, Cuba, and the Philippines, Art Deco architecture continued to be popular and commonplace well into the 1960s. Dozens of cities in the world are heralded for their Art Deco architecture. Brick Building with Steel Frame and Stainless Steel Crown - Lexington Avenue and East 42nd Street, New York - Source :


The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper, located at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Standing at 1,047 feet, it was the world's tallest building for 18 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid 1950's, but although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction of it and never owned it, as Walter P. Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.

It was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project of Walter P. Chrysler. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper. Van Alen's original design for the skyscraper called for a decorative terraced jewel-like glass crown, which it is most recognized for. Composed of seven radiating terraced arches, Van Alen's design of the crown is a cruciform groin vault constructed into seven concentric members with transitioning setbacks, mounted up one behind each other. The stainless-steel cladding is ribbed and riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern with many triangular vaulted windows, transitioning into smaller segments of the seven narrow setbacks of the facade of the terraced crown. The entire crown is clad with silvery "Enduro KA-2" metal, an austenitic stainless steel developed in Germany by Krupp and marketed under the trade name "Nirosta" (a German acronym for nichtrostender Stahl, meaning "non-rusting steel"). There are two sets of lighting in the top spires and decoration. The first are the V-shaped lighting inserts in the steel of the building itself. Added later were groups of floodlights which are on mast arms directed back at the building. This allows the top of the building to be lit in many colors for special occasions. This lighting was installed by electrician Charles Londner and crew during construction. It also featured a base in which the showroom windows were tripled in height and topped by twelve stories with glass-wrapped corners, creating an impression that the tower appeared physically and visually light as if floating on mid-air. As Walter Chrysler was the chairman of the Chrysler Corporation and intended to make the building into Chrysler's headquarters, various architectural details and especially the building's gargoyles were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth; they exemplify the machine age in the 1920s. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. In total, the building currently contains 3,862 windows on its facade and 4 banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation.

Construction commenced on September 19, 1928. Prior to its completion, the building stood about even with a rival project at 40 Wall Street, designed by H. Craig Severance. Severance increased the height of his project and then publicly claimed the title of the world's tallest building. In response, Van Alen obtained permission for an 185 feet long spire and had it secretly constructed inside the frame of the building. On October 23, 1929, the spire was hoisted onto the top of the building's dome. Upon completion, May 20, 1930, the added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure. It was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet. Less than a year after it opened to the public on May 27, 1931, the Chrysler Building was surpassed in height by the Empire State Building, but the Chrysler Building is still the world's tallest steel-supported brick building. The ownership of the building has changed several times. The Chrysler family sold the building in 1947. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Source : Natasha Marco

The Beaux-Arts Architects Ball - 1931

Architect Van Alen dressed as the Chrysler Building at the Beaux Arts Architects Ball in 1931.

Van Alen dressed as the Chrysler Building at the Beaux Arts Architects Ball in 1931. - Image and information sourced from
'You probably know, and can clearly picture, the now-classic, art deco style of the Chrysler Building: the steel-clad arches, the sunburst triangular windows, the hood ornament-style eagles, and the hubcap friezes. (It was made for a car guy, after all.) But it's doubtful you've even heard of the Manhattan Co. Building. This is probably because it's now called 40 Wall Street or the Trump Building, but also because the design just never took hold in the public consciousness. This was not the case when the buildings were first completed. The Chrysler Building was universally panned and the Manhattan Co. Building got great reviews from architecture critics.

Architects dressed as their own buildings 1931

'At the annual Beaux-Arts Ball, one-upmanship in costumes was the rule of the day. In 1931 William Van Alen and some friends dressed as buildings they had designed, and the resulting portrait has become a defining image of New York's architecture world at that time. From left, A. Stewart Walker as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, William Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, Ralph Walker as the Wall Street Building and Joseph Freedlander as the Museum of the City of New York. - Image sourced from
Revised line-up : In 1931 at the Beaux Arts Ball, New York architects dressed up as their own buildings. Stewart Walker (Fuller Building), Leonard Schultze (Waldorf-Astoria), Ely Jacques Kahn (Squibb Building), William Van Alen (Chrysler Building), Ralph Walker (1 Wall Street), D.E. Ward (Metropolitan Tower) and Joseph H. Freelander (Museum of New York).

Mr and Mrs Van Alen at the Ball in 1931

The Chrysler Building's architect, William Van Alen, dressed as his creation, with his wife at the Society of Beaux Arts Arthitects ball, 1931. - image sourced from

NEW YORK, NY - Sky-line for the masque ball! - Beaux Arts fete features novel architectural costumes.

Excerpted from: This Week in Universal News: Beaux-Arts Ball, 1931, Universal News Volume 3, Release 7 #1-10, January 19, 1931

On January 23, 1931, architects dressed up as the buildings they designed for the Beaux-Arts Ball in New York. In this week's featured story, they are pictured from left to right, A. Stewart Walker as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, William Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, Ralph Walker as the Wall Street Building and Joseph Freedlander as the Museum of the City of New York. Watch the entire newsreel, featuring a polar submarine, a train wreck, Charles Lindbergh receiving a medal from a French ambassador, dancing dogs, and "dangerous" figure skating, among other stories here. (Architects Ball starts 3 minutes in.)

The Chrysler Building Art Deco Dress

Image sourced from - d/dkcostumes on Pinterest

ysler Building Art Deco Dress used as a banner

Image sourced from
The 1931 Ball was by no means the last time the Chrysler Building was used for 'dressing up' - here in a much more stylish interpretation as it appeared in the film version of 'The Producers Musical' immortalised by Roger de Bris' exasperated 'Roger de Bris - I am supposed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but I think I look more like the Chrysler Building!'

Art Deco Ball New Years Eve 2014

And on New Year's Eve 2014 in New York City as seen on Etsy - 'The Empire State Building costume was the hit of one of New York City's biggest New Year's Eve parties in 2014, along with the other costumes I made along with the other costumes I made to go with it; Statue of Liberty and two Taxi Dress Costumes. This dress is full liquid lame and comes complete with dress and over 3 foot tall headwear. Dress is fully lined and ready to wear to any occasion. Made from quality liquid lame fabrics to ensure long lasting wear.' Description as found on Etsy.

Marlin Hotel Miami

The Marlin in Miami

One of the colourful and typical Miami seafront (this one isn't its on the road which runs parallel with the seafront behind the seafront residences) style art deco hotels which were saved in the late 1990s/early 2000s after they had been allowed to fall into disrepair - the Marlin has had at least two interior transformations by Barbara 'Biba' Hulanicki

Barbara Hulanicki

Will forever be linked with Miami and the Marlin

Barbara Hulanicki 2016 Telegraph article

Barbara Hulanicki: "I’m a very colourful person, so I like a range of sights and sounds." Credit: © See Li / Alamy Stock Photo/See Li / Alamy Stock Photo

Barbara Hulanicki’s Miami: ‘I love its constantly changing, vibrant social scene’

For the easy-going way of life, the climate, and the constantly changing, vibrant social scene, which is an ethnic melting pot. I’m a very colourful person, so I like a range of sights and sounds. There’s a thriving restaurant and cultural scene with lots of music and film festivals and art exhibits. I can see it all from my window, one block back from the beach. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Miami with its beautiful decaying art deco buildings when I first moved out there during the heyday of Miami Vice to redesign Ronnie Wood’s nightclub Woody’s on the Beach, from the show. I also fell in love with Chris Blackwell’s hotels along Miami Beach, with their iconic bright pastel colours.  Swathes of rock stars used to descend on The Marlin hotel, the celebrity hangout I redesigned for Chris. Then the fashion scene made Miami the hot place to be before the film studios followed. - read more about what she thinks about Miami here


Detail of Miami Courant with art deco building on front page

Former NCIS Agent turned doctor in Bull

Seriously NCIS is not NCIS without Tony di Nozzo played by Michael Weatherly in 306 episodes and who now stars as the eponymous hero in 'Bull' seen here, in a whimsical pose, holding on to a copy of the 'Miami Courant' featuring one of the many Art Deco hotels which can be found on the sea-front - this one on particular looks like the rounded tower of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe. The image is a screenshot taken from 'Bull' as is the detail above.

Chisel & Mouse

The Marlin as a Chisel and Mouse sculpture

The Paisley Brothers (Chisel & Mouse) have already featured on previous pages because their work is beautiful and features many of my favourite buildings - see Portland Stone

Chisel & Mouse article

Miami Design Preservation League

A Brief History of MDPL

Compiled by Dennis W. Wilhelm, Chairman Barbara Baer Capitman Archives of MDPL - Read the full article here

Artwork for the MDPL

August 1976

The Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) was formed through the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and her son John Capitman. The initial impetus was to find a project to honor the United States’ bicentennial; the Capitmans worked with designers Leonard Horowitz and Lillian Barber to identify a concentration of 1930s buildings in South Miami Beach that the group felt could be a historic district of 20th century architecture.


June 2010

At their 2010 National Convention held in Miami Beach, the American Institute of Architects honors the Miami Design Preservation League with a rare AIA Presidential Citation.

The citation reads: “Organized by Barbara Capitman and Leonard Horowitz and today the oldest Art Deco Society in the world, their inspired advocacy of enlightened preservation policies, their educational programs that heighten community awareness and pride, and their creation of a network of international partnerships have done more than preserve an irreplaceable cultural legacy for future generations; their success demonstrates that caring for our design heritage can be the engine of community revitalization and a resource for a more sustainable world.”

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Page refreshed and in progress : 19th August 2020 (G)