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Chrysler Building, Midtown East

405 Lexington Avenue at E. 42nd Street
Midtown East
New York City , New York
10017's insider take:

Automotive tycoon Walter Chrysler wanted to build the tallest building in the world, and when this stainless-steel skyscraper opened in 1930, it was—at least until the Empire State Building was completed a few months later. His edifice may no longer have the height advantage, but architecture critics (and many New Yorkers) give it the edge on style, thanks to the automotive themes that rev up its Jazz Age design—the overlapping hubcaps that make up the building's crown and the eagle hood ornaments that extend from eight corners of the 61st floor. (For a behind-the-scenes look at Condé Nast Traveler's September 2006 cover shoot with Naomi Watts atop one of the 61st-floor gargoyles, click here.) It's a romantic building, particularly when lit up at night. Visitors can also check out the lobby during regular business hours, with its airplane ceiling mural and carved-wood elevator doors.

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