chrysler building

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

Portrait of the Chrysler Building, 1930

At the time this black and white photograph was taken in 1930, the Chrysler Building was brand new and had the distinction of being the tallest building in the world. It took that crown from 40 Wall Street, which held if for only a few weeks, and yielded it less than a year later to the Empire State Building.

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Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

Aerial Overview of Midtown Manhattan with B-17 Bombers, 1940

In this amazing shot, taken in 1940, a squadron of B-17 bombers flies over Midtown Manhattan. One of the planes appears to be impaled on the spire of the Empire State Building. Also visible in the shot are the Chrysler Building and the original Pennsylvania Station, and beyond are the East River and Queens.

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Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

Aerial View of Midtown Spires, c. 1950

In this aerial black and white photo from about 1950, we see the spires of Midtown East, including the Helmsley Building and the Chrysler Building. The midcentury haze obscures southern manhattan and Queen, giving the sense that the world beyond Midtown Manhattan ceases to to exist.

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Lower Manhattan Skyline looking North, 1930

Lower Manhattan Skyline looking North, 1930

A man in silhouette looks out from a high office in City Bank-Farmers' Trust Company Building toward 40 Wall Street, then known at the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building, which had only recently passed the Woolworth Building, visible further uptown, as the tallest building in the world. 40 Wall held that title for only a few weeks before being surpassed by the Chrysler Building, which can be seen through the window to the extreme right.

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East 42nd Street and Third Avenue, 1931

East 42nd Street and Third Avenue, 1931
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East River Skyline, c. 1955

East River Skyline, c. 1955

The Manhattan Skyline viewed from Roosevelt Island in 1955 looks strikingly familiar to a contemporary viewer. The art deco spires of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building spear the sky, and the cigarette-box-shaped United Nations waits impassively for the better world its construction was supposed to help usher in. But the majestic giants of the second half of the Twentieth Century are conspicuously absent. The Citigroup Center, the Bear Stearns Building, the MetLife Building, and many others have yet to replace their smaller, forgotten predecessors.

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East 42nd Street and Second Avenue, c. 1932

East 42nd Street and Second Avenue, c. 1932

Looking west along Forty-Second Street from Second Avenue, you can see the Third Avenue Elevated Line and, beyond it, the Chrysler Building. The street is quiet, with only a few cars parked at the curb and a few pedestrians in winter coats walking briskly past the City Coffee Pot. The newly-constructed Daily News Building is on the left, just beyond the Coffee Pot.

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Chrysler Building at Dusk, 1950

Chrysler Building at Dusk, 1950

View southeast toward the Chrysler Building on East 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.  A flourescent lancet crown tops this Manhattan landmark, which opened in 1931.  Designed by architect William Van Alen, this Art Deco masterpiece was the tallest building in the world for eleven months, before being surpassed by the Empire State Building.  In this photo, its majesty is unrivaled.

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Chrysler and Lincoln Buildings, 1930

Chrysler and Lincoln Buildings, 1930

View northwest toward the Chrysler and Lincoln Buildings both completed in 1930.  While the Chrysler Building towers over the Lincoln and is the pinnacle of Art Deco style, the Lincoln Building is not without its own merits.  Built in the neo-gothic style, the Lincoln Building sports gothic windows at the top and a bronze model of Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French in it's lobby.  The statue was removed in 2009 when the building was renamed to One Grand Central Plaza.

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