In honor of the Chrysler Building's 75th birthday this spring, the NY Times ran this awesome Op-Art piece by James Stevenson that explained some of the building's beginnings. Stevenson did this an illustration of Brooklyn-born, Pratt-educated Chrysler Building architect William Van Alen wearing a Chrysler Building costume, noting that he looked "uncomfortable and forlorn," "more Pagliacci than skyscraper," and Gothamist decided to hunt down the actual photograph. And, in fact, Van Alen, who was never paid by William Chrysler for the design and who ended up dying without another major commission, does look out of sorts. But it is the most awesome costume we've ever seen. And it's weird to think that the Chrsyler Building was derided by critics when completed, since it's probably a favorite of many New Yorkers.
What do you think of the Chrysler Building? More about the history of the Chrysler Building from City Review, Fortune City and Wikipedia, more photos from Wired NY. Matthew Barney's Cremaster 3 takes place partly in the Chrysler Building. The Chrysler Building isn't open to the public, but you can go into the lobby. Gothamist has been in the elevator and we went on an a tour for an art installation that wound up in the Chrysler Building.