Chrysler Building

I recently got sucked into a wormhole at the oversize books section of my local library. I went to look up one thing and wound up sitting on the floor surrounded by architectural history books, later dragging pounds and pounds of them back to my car. I think one of them probably topped 7 or 8 pounds all by itself!

One of these large publications was The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon, Day by Day.  I was initially drawn to it because it documents the construction process of the building over time, which reminded me of the progressive photos of the construction of the Eiffel Tower that have long fascinated me.  Then I opened it up and learned about the charmed story behind it – the author went to a store to buy some old cameras, and happened across a box of silver negatives of the Chrysler building, just days before they were scheduled to be scrapped for silver reclamation.  That’s intriguing without a doubt.  But then I opened it up and fell into the past, drawn in by photos that didn’t just show the building as it went up, but also little details of life in the late 20s in NYC. Here are some of my favorites.

Street scene, showing typical stores of the time
(Hats! Trunks! Cigars!)

What was on that corner before?

Building a skyscraper with planks of wood.

Bricklayers all in a row.

Men hanging (literally) from the side of the building as they worked.
(Each arrow I added for emphasis shows a different scaffold of workers.)

Workers out on one of the deco eagles, bird’s-eye view.
(Sorry, acrophobes.)

Ghost images of pedestrians created by time-lapse exposures of the building.

NY skyline with the Chrysler Building.

Men at work.

(Love the spats!)

Tradesmen pictured on-site.

For a brief moment (a few months, I believe), the Chrysler building was the tallest building in the world.

The silver savior (as I like to think of him) also answered questions about the building in the New York Times a few years back.

*All images in this post scanned from The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon, Day by Day


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