Top Attractions

Skyscrapers of New York City

by staff, 04/23/2014 [Updated 02/18/2016]

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  • Chrysler Building
    Height: 1,046 feet
    NYC rank: 5 (tied)
    The tall and short of it: Though its reign as the world's tallest building was brief—less than a year, until the Empire State Building surpassed it—the Chrysler Building has, in the eyes of many, never surrendered its title as the prettiest NYC skyscraper (clearly a subjective distinction). Commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler as the headquarters for his car company—no longer housed here—the art deco tower was designed by Brooklyn-born architect William Van Alen.
    Fun fact: It was through some gamesmanship that the Chrysler Building ever got to be the tallest building in the City and the world. The Manhattan Company Building, later known as 40 Wall Street (and, now, the Trump Building), was under construction at the same time, and architect H. Craig Severance believed it would be taller than the Chrysler Building; what he didn't know was that the Chrysler Building's spire was secretly under construction inside the building's frame. The added 125 feet secured the Chrysler Building's height title, at least until the Empire State Building came around.
    Is there an observation deck? Not since 1945, but you can walk in and take a peek at the ornately decorated lobby, whose attractions include the massive mural Transport and Human Endeavor, by Edward Trumbull.

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