The Chrysler Building, Pt. 5

The interior is less famous but every bit as dazzling. The three-story lobby has walls of (very expensive) red Moroccan marble and granite with chrome elements that echo the exterior. The floor is sienna-colored travertine. The elevator doors feature brass and marquetry inlaid with Japanese ash and American walnut in an exotic lotus flower motif.

Even the ceilings are lavishly decorated, with Art Deco murals by Edward Trumbull that depict buildings, airplanes, and scenes from the Chrysler assembly line.

Critics were not kind to the building when it opened. Lovers of more traditional architecture sniffed, “vulgar,” and fans of modern design found it fussy. Still, it quickly became a people’s favorite. As the Lonely Planet guide to New York says, it “makes most other skyscrapers look like uptight geeks.” In 2005, New York’s Skyscraper Museum asked 100 architects, builders, critics, engineers, and historians, among others, to choose their 10 favorite towers in the city out of a list of 25. Each list was different, but one building was the clear winner: 90 of them named the Chrysler Building.