The Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building - The Relationship


Probably the two most recognizable buildings in the world - the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building - the two are often confused by new visitors to New York City. 

It is a fairly common occurrence on many a private Best New York Sightseeing Tour, when a guest will see the Chrysler Building for the first time and proclaim it to be the Empire State Building.

It is not so surprising that the two buildings can be confused since the
Chrysler Building was built in 1930 and the Empire State Building was completed only 11 months later - both designed in a strong Art Deco style of architecture unique to the early 1930's.

The Chrysler Building, unlike the Empire State Building, was built privately by Walter P. Chrysler who wanted to boast a headquarters building in New York City despite the fact that his corporation was mainly based in and around Detroit.

The Empire State Building, on the other hand, was built as a consortium between the New York State Gov't and Private industry in an attempt to economically rejuvenate a part of midtown Manhattan that had never really taken off, and was an attempt to attract private industry to build more buildings in and around the new record-breaking tower.

Walter P. Chrysler, though he certainly had the clout to have his corporation pay for the construction of the Chrysler Building, chose to pay for the incredible Chrysler Building with his own money. When asked as to why he paid the tab for the construction of the Chrysler Building directly, Walter P. Chrysler replied "....I'd like my children to inherit the building...."

The Empire State Building, completed less than a year later in 1931, was, for many years, a kind of a mistaken effort by Gov't to tinker with the usually natural way that real estate and buildings are normally built in American cities such as New York City - that is, dependent on supply and demand.

Though it may be difficult for some to believe, the Empire State Building was essentially a flop for many years after its' 1931 completion. Since little research was done in advance to determine whether New York City needed another giant office tower at a time when the Great Depression was deepening, not to mention that at the time, the 34th Street location was a kind of no-man's land - too far north of the Financial District downtown and too far south of the new heart of midtown which was quickly becoming the area between 42nd St & 50th Streets. 
Sure enough, just one year after the Empire State Building opened to commercial office tenants, the vaunted New York Times dispatched a reporter to visit the tallest building in the world and a story appeared in the New York Times shortly thereafter proclaiming the Empire State Building as the "Empty State Building". Virtually no tenants occupied this already iconic structure.

The Empire State Building management, incredibly embarrassed, by the truthful but hurtful story in the New York Times, promptly hired a few dozen employees to ride up and down the buildings' 73 elevators during evenings and at night to turn lights on and off in various empty offices on different floors in order to essentially "hoodwink" the public viewing this giant structure form all parts of the city into believing that the building had "tenants" throughout.

Speaking of "hoodwinking" - the Chrysler Building has many stories associated with it including this one - how Walter P. Chrysler fooled the public and the city into believing the building was notto be the tallest in the world upon completion. That honor was to be bestowed on a new building in the financial district downtown. How that building was the tallest building in the world for one week is a fascinating one which will be revealed when one takes a Chrysler Building Tour with Best New York Tours.

Unlike most Chrysler Building Tours which do not enter the Chrysler Building itself, I pride myself in having my guests actually enter the lobby and ground floor of the iconic and stunning Chrysler Building.

The same holds true on Best New York Tours of Midtown New York City and in particular, Empire State Building Tours. Whether or not a guest decides to add-on an Empire State Building Tour of the the 86th floor Observatory or the 102nd floor nose-bleed level, I love to take Best New York Tours guests into the incredibly beautiful Art Deco stunning lobby of the Empire State Building.

There are a multitude of incredibly interesting and fascinating true stories associated with the history of the Empire State Building that involve such diverse items such as German Zeppelins and the 73 Elevators in the Empire State Building. These amazing stories will only be fully revealed only when joining a Best New York Tours Empire State Building Tour.

The Chrysler Building Tour and the Empire State Buiilding Tour can usually be easily included in a Manhattan Tour of any type. 

Best New York Tours can customize a visit to the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings on any of our Private Tours.