cover image THE CHRYSLER BUILDING: Creating a New York Icon, Day by Day

THE CHRYSLER BUILDING: Creating a New York Icon, Day by Day

David Stravitz, D. Stravitz, . . Princeton Architectural Press, $45 (192pp) ISBN 978-1-56898-354-7

While buying some equipment from an elderly photographer, Stravitz, a designer and product developer who holds more than 100 patents and 400 copyrights, stumbled onto a collection of negatives taken by the commercial and industrial photographers Peyser & Patzig that chronicled the construction of the Chrysler Building, the art deco masterpiece on New York City's 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Introduced by New York Times "Streetscapes" columnist Christopher Grey, these 170 duotones—some lush and some grainy—begin with the lot's nondescript previous building, which was demolished by 1928, and continue through the massive girding of the uncompleted tower, swarmed over by teams of bricklayers and captured in long shots as it neared being "ready for occupancy in the Spring of 1930" (as one billboard reads)—a year or so ahead of the rival Empire State Building. Images of offices with stiff-looking bureaucrats and deluxe interior shots of marble, chrome and frescos top things off. The photos are catalogued in the back, leaving them uncluttered by extraneous text—it's all pure loft and shimmer from the golden age of skyscrapers. (Oct.)