Everything you need to know about visiting the Chrysler Building (405 Lexington Ave, New York, 10174).
With its steel sunburst crown, the Chrysler Building is the pinnacle of the art deco era and one of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers. Designed by William Van Alen for Chrysler founder Walter F. Chrysler, the 925-foot, 77-story tower boasts car-themed flourishes and was the first man-made structure with a height of more than 1,000 feet. Despite its historic significance, no public tours are offered of the tower. But during business hours, visitors can explore the elegant lobby with Moroccan marble walls and embellished Sienna marble floors. Check out the world’s first digital clock by the reception area and look up at Transport and Human Endeavor, artist Edward Trumbull’s ceiling mural depicting innovative buildings, airplanes and Chrysler’s automotive line. And the building is most stunning from the outside anyway, especially after the sun sets and thousands of lights in the triangular windows set the crown aglow.
Get a crown in the crown
Since the public observation deck closed in 1945, there has been no official way for tourists to admire the view from the triangular windows of the Chrysler Building’s iconic crown…but there is a dental office located on the 69th floor. So the best way to enjoy a breathtaking view of the NYC skyline is by getting a root canal.
Spot the car-goyles
To pay homage to the building’s namesake car company, no ordinary gargoyles would do. Instead, two giant steel eagles—replicas of hood ornaments from the 1920s Chrysler Plymouths—jut off the corners of the 61st floor. And on the 31st floor, each corner is adorned with a winged cap like the one worn by Mercury, the Roman god of speed, who was an inspiration for Walter Chrysler. But contrary to popular myth, the crown is not made from repurposed hubcaps.
Admire the secret spire
In the famed race to create the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Chrysler Building originally appeared to have fallen short by a mere two feet when the 927-foot 40 Wall Street building, designed by Van Alen’s former partner H. Craig Severance, was completed in May 1930. Not to be outdone, Van Alen had secretly constructed a 125-foot stainless steel spire inside the Chrysler building’s frame, and four days after 40 Wall Street opened, it was completed in just 90 minutes, giving Chrysler the edge in the tallest tower title. But both buildings were bested by the 1250-foot Empire State Building, which opened 11 months later.
Our New York editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of NYC. at your fingertips. The Chrysler Building was most recently updated with new tips on June 30, 2017.