The Chrysler Building is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in New York City, and while visitors can only access the building’s lobby (the observation deck on the 71st floor closed to the public in 1945), the structure is still well worth a visiting due to its spectacular architecture.
Ticket Info & Opening Hours
The Chrysler Building lobby is open to the public from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. Tickets are not required to enter the lobby, however, the rest of the building is off-limits to the public and there are no tours to the wider areas.
History & more information
The Chrysler Building is an art deco-style skyscraper found on the East Side of New York’s Midtown Manhattan. This spectacular building stands at 319 meters high and houses 77 floors.
Furthermore, it has a lobby three stories high and for 11 months the Chrysler Building was the tallest building in the world before being surpassed by the Empire State Building!
Designed by architect William Van Alen for Mr. Walter P. Chrysler, the building commenced construction on September 19th, 1928 (a time when the battle to build the tallest building was in full swing) and cost a whopping $20 million to finish.
Van Alen showered the building with his impressive design work and included a homage to cars (chrome hubcaps, a car-grill, and racing car sculptures all adorn the building).
In 1947 the Chrysler family sold the building for $18 million and since then, ownership has passed hands many different times. Today the building is in negotiation to be bought for $150 million by Signa Holding, Austria’s largest privately-owned real estate company.
Points of Interest
Before you enter the building, make sure you look up and take a glimpse at the 185-foot spire designed by William Van Alen who was inspired by a car radiator grill.
Other things to note on the exterior of the building include the winged silver ornaments on the 31st floor and the crown of the building which boasts seven arches.
Check out the Moroccan marble walls in the lobby, they’re adorned with Art Deco light fixtures.
The lobby’s floors re yellow Siena marble with amber, onyx, and blue marble trim which makes them pretty impressive to look at!
The Reception Desk
Take a look at the lobby’s reception desk, it features multiple patterns made from a variety of types of wood (a similar style to the elevator doors).
One of the most impressive features of the Chrysler Building’s lobby is the mural ceiling. Created by Edward Trumbull, the ceiling painting depicts the Chrysler Building as well as a variety of other buildings and an airplane.
How to get to Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is found at 405 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street on Manhattan’s East Side. The area is commonly referred to as Midtown. To get there by subway, take the 4, 5, 6 or 7 subway to Grand Central Station and then walk to Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street.
- From Times Square, it takes about 15 minutes on foot.
- From The Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, the Chrysler Building is just a 16-minute walk away.
- From the south exit of Central Park, the Chrysler Building is just a 25-minute walk away.
Best time to visit
The Chrysler Building lobby is only open on weekdays and the crowds you want to avoid are office workers going about their day! Try to avoid arriving between the hours of 8am and 10am when people are arriving for work, and again between 4pm and 6pm when people are heading home from work.
Facts about Chrysler Building
- In total, 391,881 rivets and 29,961 tons of steel were used, and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were manually laid, to create the non-loadbearing walls of the skyscraper.
- The Chrysler Building is renowned and recognized for its terraced crown. 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 another.
- It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s. 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.
- There are 32 elevators in the Chrysler Building – four banks of eight elevators. They are beautifully inlaid with intricate designs.
- The ceiling of the lobby is painted with a mural by Edward Trumbull entitled “Transport and Human Endeavor.” The mural depicts scenes from Chrysler’s own assembly line, Charles Lindbergh flying The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic and The Chrysler Building itself.
- The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, a New York City Landmark in 1978, and is considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City.
- New York’s Skyscraper Museum polled one hundred architects, builders, critics, engineers and historians in 2005, asking them to choose their favorite buildings in New York. The Chrysler Building came in first. Ninety percent of those polled placed in on their top-ten list.
- The Chrysler family sold the building in 1953. Though the building still bears their name, they do not own it.
- Though the building was done very quickly, with an average of 4 floors per week built, no one was killed during the construction.
- The lobby of the Chrysler Building contains the world’s very first digital clock.
FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)
Where are the best views of the Chrysler Building?
Consider heading up the Empire State Building (and looking northeast) or head to the Top of the Rock (and look southeast) to enjoy views over the Chrysler Building. Additionally, there are some streets in midtown Manhattan where you can see the skyscraper in the background.
Is it true that only the lobby is open to the public?
Yes, members of the public can only explore the lobby, they can not use the elevators or explore any other part of the building.
Why is the Chrysler Building of importance?
The Chrysler Building is considered to be one of the finest displays of Art Deco architecture in America and was created at a time when New York wanted to be the home of the tallest building in the world.
What can I do at the Chrysler Building?
Explore the lobby, admire art deco architecture, and enjoy views of the building from the sidewalk.
How do I get tickets?
You don’t need a ticket to enter the building, simply walk straight in.
Do you have more questions about Chrysler Building in New York City? Leave a comment below!