Chrysler Building | An Elegant & Iconic Symbol of a Bygone Era

by NYJ Team

New York City’s skyline has been anchored by a number of iconic and beautiful skyscrapers over the years, including the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, the new One World Trade Center, and of course, the sleek and elegant Chrysler Building.

The Chrysler Building stands tall on 42nd and Lexington Avenues, towering over midtown Manhattan just to the northeast of its rival Art Deco masterpiece, the Empire State Building. For a brief period of time after its completion in May 1930, the Chrysler Building stood as the tallest in the world. However, that prestigious title lasted less than a year, until it was bypassed by the spire that was installed on the top of the Empire State Building.

Today, the Chrysler Building still helps anchor and define the New York City skyline, alongside its famous contemporaries. Its graceful form has been featured in countless movies, including The Devil Wears Prada, Spiderman and Serendipity.

Chrysler Building

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Classic Art Deco Design
While the taller Empire State Building may draw more attention and more movie roles, many architects widely consider the Chrysler Building to be the more beautiful of the two skyscrapers. It was one of the last of the great Art Deco buildings, designed specifically for the Chrysler car company. It also served as the company’s headquarters well into the 1950’s.

You can see the influence of the automotive inspiration in many of the Art Deco design features, particularly in the famous gargoyles which were modeled after Chrysler hood ornaments. As well, the spire on top of the building was inspired by a radiator grille.

The terraced steel crown of the building is what really sets the Chrysler Building apart. It was designed in a sunburst pattern, and is a classic example of the sleek lines and beauty of the 1920’s Art Deco style.

Visiting the Chrysler Building
One of the most notable differences between the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building is that the Chrysler Building is not open to the public. There was once a public viewing on the 71st floor, but that was closed down in the 1940’s. There was also a private dining club called The Cloud Club inside, but that too closed in the 1970’s.

The building is currently occupied by private business offices, and you will only get as far as the lobby if you stop by. However, it is still well worth a visit, just to admire the lobby’s breathtaking ceiling mural designed by Edward Trumbull, as well as its gleaming marble floors, and the unique wood and inlay on the elevator doors.

So, if you want to admire the beauty of this Art Deco gem, you’re going to be standing outside. The best view from the street is at the corner of 3rd Ave and 44th St. It is a great idea to bring your telephoto lens or even a pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the entire building.

If you don’t feel like craning your neck, the other great way to admire the beauty of the Chrysler Building is to stop by its rival. For a few coins, you can use the pay telescopes at the northeast corner of the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building, which will give you a clear and level view of the world famous and awe-inspiring Chrysler Building crown.

Click for more information on the Chrysler Building.

Empire State Building | On Top of the World

by NYJ Team

When it comes to what to see and do in New York City, the sheer number of options can seem a little overwhelming. However, there is one thing that should be at the top of every travel list, and that is a visit to the top of the iconic Empire State Building.

It is simply one of the most famous buildings in the entire world and it has come to symbolize the bold and majestic grandeur of the Big Apple itself. The Empire State Building has been featured in countless movies, television shows and books set in New York, from King Kong to An Affair to Remember to Doctor Who to Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Empire State Building

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The Great Building
The Empire State Building has been named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It stands 103 stories high right on 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It was the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years, until the completion of New York’s World Trade Center in 1970. Aside from its height, it is also famous for its classic Art Deco architecture, which can be seen everywhere from the spectacular cathedral-like three story lobby, to the sleek railings and design of the observation deck.

The Empire State Building also acts as symbol to mark holidays and world events. Floodlights were added to the top of the building in the 1960s, and now the building lights up in different colours depending in the occasion. The building is lit up red, white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, and in 1998, it was bathed in a blue light when Frank Sinatra (Old Blue Eyes) passed away.

Tips for the Perfect Visit
Since the Empire State building is at the top of everyone’s must-see list, expect long lines. Tickets do offer an express option which will let you skip the lines, but you can expect to line up long before you get to the ticket counter. Instead, it’s cheaper and more efficient to plan your visit for a time when lines might be a little less long.

The best times to visit are first thing in the morning, around 3 p.m., or at night, when the lines are shortest. Don’t let bad weather keep you away. A little rain or snow does nothing to dampen the incredible view, and it does a lot to speed up your trip to the top. The most romantic time to visit is at night, when the city that never sleeps is sparkling at your feet.

The View
You can see the entire city of New York from the top of the Empire State Building, plus a little more. From the south Observation Deck, and you look out towards Lower Manhattan, the Lower Bay and Staten Island. You can see the famous Flatiron Building below, out towards the resurrected tower at One World Trade Centre, and past to Statue of Liberty.

From the North Observation deck, Broadway winds past right below your feet, leading to the Columbus Circle and the vast green oasis of Central Park, which sits nestled between the Upper East and West with historic Harlem capping it off on the north.

The best view is from the northeast corner, where you look out towards Brooklyn and the sparkling East River at the other of New York’s most iconic Art Deco gems; the shining and breathtaking crown and gargoyles on the Chrysler Building, which can only be properly appreciated at this altitude.

Click to visit Empire State Building official website.

The Brooklyn Bridge: A Historic Landmark & Feat of Modern Engineering

by NYJ Team

The Brooklyn Bridge is so much more than just a bridge. Certainly, it links the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn across the East River, but it is not just a run-of-the-mill crossing point for commuters, residents and visitors. The Brooklyn Bridge is a National Landmark and a historic work of engineering, and its distinctive cables and pointed Neo-Gothic arches have become a symbol of the city of New York itself.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened to traffic in May of 1883, fifteen years before Brooklyn became consolidated as part of New York City. It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever built in the world. Today, it draws millions of visitors a year who come to walk across the East River, enjoying the views, the history, and the chance to spend the day of the most filmed and photographed structures in New York.

Brooklyn Bridge

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History of the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge took 14 years to build at a staggering cost at the time of $15,000,000. When it opened, it was called the “eighth wonder of the world”, and it was the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere for many years.

It also fast became a place of legend and spectacle, when a year after it opened, world famous circus magnate P. T. Barnum led a parade of elephants across the bridge to quiet rumours that the bridge was unstable and prime for collapse.

Today, the Brooklyn Bridge figures prominently in dozens of television shows and movies, including The Dark Knight Rises, I Am Legend, Annie Hall and Gangs of New York.

Driving across the Brooklyn Bridge
Originally, the bridge was designed for horse-drawn carriages and for rail traffic, with a separate walkway built for pedestrians. Over time, it was adapted for streetcars, elevated trains and eventually, cars and trucks.

Drivers can access the bridge on the Brooklyn side from the eastbound Brooklyn Queens Expressway, from Sands Street. From the Manhattan side, the entrances are on FDR drive, or from Park Row/Centre Streets. However, the best way to experience the Brooklyn Bridge is not to drive, but to walk.

How to Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Walkway can be accessed on the Brooklyn side from Tillary Street and Boerum Place, or through an underpass on Washington Street two blocks from Front Street. In Manhattan, the pedestrian walkway is accessible from City Hall the end of Centre Street and Park Row, or through the south staircase of Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall IRT subway station.

Plan to spend roughly two hours walking both ways across the bridge, although you can always walk one way and then take a cab or a water taxi back. Bring water on a hot day as there are no shops or vendors any way along the walkway. There are no washrooms either. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as the wooden boardwalks are not heel-friendly.

Bike across the Brooklyn Bridge
There are also dedicated bike lanes across the Brooklyn Bridge. The bike lanes and pedestrian lanes are separated by a painted line, but watch out for stray walkers distracted by the view. The entrances are the same as for the pedestrian walkway. There are many places to rent bicycles in both Manhattan and in Brooklyn.

What to do near the Brooklyn Bridge
If you walked from Manhattan into Brooklyn, take the time to explore the arty neighborhood known as DUMBO, or “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” Your best bets for a fun afternoon are soaking in the view of Manhattan from a park bench in Brooklyn Bridge Park, heading for ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on Old Fulton Street, or waiting in line to grab a slice at the world famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, also on Old Fulton.

In Manhattan, you will end up right at historic City Hall in Lower Manhattan, where there is an endless choice of places to eat and things to see.