Thursday, October 12, 2006

Midtown East, Sept. 2006

Here's the grande dame of New York's skyscrapers, the Chrysler Building, reflected in the glass of its much less distinguished neighbor across 42nd Street. You can't see the distinctive spire because of the angle of the photo, but you can barely make out the eagle gargoyles that project from the building just below the spire.

The Chrysler Building, by William van Alen, was built in 1930 and was briefly the tallest building in New York, until the Empire State Building was finished in 1931. It's still the most elegant New York building, in my opinion. The Empire State Building is Johnny Weissmuller, all big muscle; the Chrysler Building is Jean Harlow.

I can see its shiny finial both from my office on West 43rd Street and the block where I live, at Lexington Avenue and 29th Street. It always adds to my day to look up and notice it: bright steel in the sun, a crown of lights at night.

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