Ah the Chrysler Building, that Manhattan monument famed for its glistening geometric ornamentation and its chaotic web of criss-crossing reinforced concrete beams. Wait…wuh?
Believe it or not, apart from being the tallest brick structure in the world, the shimmering Art Deco landmark has a spire that appears arguably more Sagrada Familia than Chrysler. A recent video camera-accompanied excursion to the top of the iconic 1930 skyscraper revealed to the YouTube-watching masses that the interior of the spire is not a blindingly radiant forest of steel supports as one might hope to see but a rather unrefined network of reinforced concrete beams designed to safely support the Chrysler’s crown.
Urban explorer Moses Gates (epic name!) leads satellite radio talk show host Gregg “Opie” Hughes up to what they describe as a “crawl space” at the top of the Chrysler, where the two savor some extraordinary views of Manhattan through a messy tangle of steel, concrete, and fluorescent illumination. “If I were here on a mountain right now standing just like this, nobody would think this is dangerous,” Gates tells Hughes, short of breath after ascending the narrow ladders that top the Chrysler’s 71 inhabitable floors. “It’s only because it’s a building that people get uptight but, man, this is like, cooler than a lot of mountains.”
- Kelly Chan