Happy Birthday, Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building has always been my favorite Manhattan skyscraper:  Its a gorgeous, Deco masterpiece, and I am thrilled beyond words to have my office here, (even if its on a lower floor).

I’ve joked with my bosses that the only reason I haven’t quit is that I love being in this building. Not just the lobby, but even the elevators are gorgeous.

click for larger graphic


"In 1928, Walter P. Chrysler bought the property at 405 Lexington Avenue
and 42nd street and told his architect, William Van Alen, to build the
tallest building in the world – and to step on the gas."


UPDATE May 19, 2005 11:38am
Fatbear points (in the comments) to a few interesting facts on the Chrysker Building’s relationship to Cooper Union College:

Cooper Union and the Chrysler Building
Cooper Union: $9,300; CUNY: $6,600 — a stacked deck

Good stuff!



Happy Birthday, Chrysler Building

James Stevenson
NY Times, April 23, 2005

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  1. fatbear commented on Apr 25

    Barry –

    Stevenson is a great artist and writer, but he’s wrong regarding Chrysler buying the land. It was (since 1902) and still is owned by Cooper Union, and because of a specific clause in Cooper Union’s charter (1859) Cooper not only can own and benefit from the land (despite later law that provides that charities pay taxes on their non-related earnings), but also in effect has the leasee (currently Tishman-Speyer) pay to Cooper Union an amount equal to taxes (in addition to ground rent).

    The current payment supports each student at Cooper Union to the tune of ~$10K. As I’m sure you know, Cooper does not charge any tuition, and enrollment is open to all on a purely merit basis.

    Cooper’s Chrysler Building tax exemption has been the subject of several lawsuits and at least one backroom deal in Albany of which Tweed would’ve been proud. Below are links to a lawyer’s take and an article from our local paper (which is beating the pants off the Voice in covering the ‘hood):



  2. rob commented on May 19

    the worlds most beautiful skyscraper.

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