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Photographer's Note

It never ceases to amaze me how many large structures can be packed into a very small space. New York City is one of the most "vertical" in the world. The centerpiece here is the Chrysler Building, a beautiful Art Deco structure located on the East Side in Midtown, at the intersection of 42nd St. and Lexington Avenue. It stands 1,046 feet high, and was the world's tallest building for a whole eleven months, apparently, before it was superseded by the Empire State Building, completed in 1931. It was, in fact, the first ever manmade structure to surpass 1,000 feet. It is still the tallest brick building with a steel framework in the world, however. It served as the American car company's headquarters from 1930 until the mid-1950s, but Chrysler actually paid for it himself, rather than the corporation, so that his children could inherit it. Opening to initially mixed reviews, it is now one of the most pre-eminent examples of Art Deco architecture. It is constructed of a steel frame filled with masonry, featuring 3,862 exterior windows. In keeping with the original owner's design, there are about 50 metal ornaments adorning the faηade, which include gargoyles (31st floor), eagles (61st floor) and even replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps (i.e., hood ornaments!). The ground floor exterior is clad in black Shastone granite, and the three floors above are in white marble from Georgia.

The land it's situated on was donated to the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1902, and real estate developer William H. Reynolds rented a large plot of land on the site, beginning construction on the "Reynolds Building" in 1928, starting with a 67-year lease of the property. Due to the enormous expense, and some serious wrangling over both finances and the design of the structure, Reynolds simply ran out of funds, so he sold the whole project, including the plot, lease, plans and architects' services to Walter Chrysler for $2 million on October 15, 1928. What had been build previously was demolished the same day, and Chrysler proposed a 925-foot structure, whose designs were altered several times before the finished product was completed. A structure that size required a 69-foot-deep foundation to be excavated, which involved removal of some 105 million pounds of rock and 36 million pounds of soil from the site. The Carnegie Steel Company provided the beams, which were laid at an astonishing pace. About four floors per week were added to the structure. The building was officially completed in February, 1932. The family did indeed inherit the property after Walter Chrysler's death in 1940, but sold it for $18 million in 1953. In 1957, it was sold again, along with new additions including its annex and the adjacent Graybar Building. The package cost $66 million, the largest-ever real estate sale. The site has been sold multiple times since. In more modern times, stakes have been sold in the building: as of July, 2008, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council became 90% owner of the building, with Tishman Speyer retaining the last 10%.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 88 W: 78 N: 942] (1731)
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