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by Andrew M. Lin on October 7th, 2006 at 3:52 pm

Chrysler_Building.jpg

The Chrysler Building is closed to the public for most of the year. Open House New York, a 5-borough event that is supposed to give the public a chance to peek into these locked spaces did just that: it gave me a peek. I was looking forward to this event for over a week, so I think I was justified in feeling a bit disappointed when all we got to see was the main lobby and elevator bank.

The main lobby and elevator bank are beautiful, however. The former is covered wall-to-wall with different types of marble; the elevator cabs are decorated with beautifully crafted inlaid wood. The attention to detail is stunning. Here are a couple of interesting facts that I learned from one of the building’s security guards (a reputable source, I think):

1. The lobby’s ceiling is completely covered with a large mural by famous artist Edward Turnbul entitled: “Energy, Result, Workmanship and Transportation”.

2. The interior of each elevator cab in the building is decorated with different patterns of inlaid, exotic wood.

3. Each year, they have tried unsuccessfully to enlarge the main reception desk, which only seats one person behind a tall counter that makes only his head visible when seated.

4. There is an observation deck on the 71st, but it has been closed for many, many years.

5. The building’s famous and elusive, private luncheon room, the Cloud Club, has been converted to office space; all of its furnishings now in storage somewhere else.

6. Inside the highest point of the building’s interior (inside the spire), only accessible by stairwell, then ladder, sits a toilet. My source is unsure of whether it is still functional. I dream of the view.

More Information on the Chrysler Building:
Wikipedia on the Chrysler Building
The Midtown Book
Building Big Databank
Salon.com on the story of the Chrysler Building

4 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    That’s all it was? I didn’t get a chance to go there today. I went to the Little Red Lighthouse and the Masons Lodge instead. You should check out the Masons tour — it was probably the most popular one today, considering one had to stand in line for an hour to actually get into the tour! They were supposed to only be open today but at the openhouse organizers’ request, they will be open tomorrow as well. (They started to turn people away before 3:30pm.) Get there as early as you can! :-)

  2. Andrew Lin says:

    Thanks for the information Karen. That one looked really interesting too. Did they show any secret, hidden rooms of sect worship?

  3. Karen says:

    The secret behind the extra doors? Windows.

  4. Paul says:

    There’s no toilet in the spire. The legendary toilet was in the penthouse of motor magnate Walter Chrysler, who apparently wanted the highest commode in the world so he could (metaphorically) sh!t on Henry Ford.

    The spire is actually windowless. The building’s chief electrician told a journalist that he sometimes went inside to enjoy the quiet and total darkness. There would have been nothing over his head but 180 feet of uninterrupted pitch black void.

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