The Quick 10: The Chrysler Building

iStock
iStock

Apparently it’s Buildings of New York Appreciation Week here in the Quick 10. Joining the New York Public Library in having a birthday this week is the Chrysler Building, which will be celebrating its 81st year dominating the Manhattan skyline. It may not be the tallest building in town these days, but it’s still one of the most impressive. Read on to find out how long it actually held the title of New York’s Tallest Building and nine other fascinating facts about the Art Deco masterpiece.

1. Without the freak show-riddled Coney Island amusement park Dreamland (pictured), the Chrysler Building would never have existed. When Dreamland burned to the ground in 1911, owner William Reynolds decided he needed a new, high-profile project to work on. He decided to enter the “Tallest Building in the World” race and commissioned architect William Van Alen to draft something.

2. It’s called the Chrysler Building not after the business, really, but after the man, Walter Chrysler. Though Chrysler used it as the headquarters for his car company for more than 20 years, the company didn’t foot bill for the building - Walter did. He bought the property and the design for (we think) $2 million after Reynolds defaulted on the lease. Chrysler purchased it himself so his sons could inherit it.

3. Chrysler never actually paid William Van Alen. He believed Van Alen was working with building contractors on some shady financial arrangements and refused to be a part of it.

4. The 27-ton spire on top of the building took just 90 minutes to erect. And it was kind of sneaky affair.

You see, the Empire State Building was going up at the same time, backed by Chrysler rival John Raskob, founder of General Motors. Raskob, in a bit of not-so-friendly competition, wanted to make sure his building was taller than Chrysler’s, but Chrysler was keeping the height of his building a secret, making it hard for Empire State Building architects to plan. “Raskob was worried that Walter Chrysler would pull a trick - like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute,” said project manager Hamilton Weber. Well, Raskob sure knew his rival, because that’s exactly what Chrysler did.

5. As a result, the Chrysler Building held the title of New York’s Tallest Building... for less than a year. Once the Chrysler Building was done, Raskob’s architects did some figuring and decided they could make the building 85 stories tall, eight stories taller than the Chrysler Building. They did, of course, and the Chrysler Building was bumped to the second-tallest building in the city.

6. The building hasn’t always been in high demand. Shockingly, during the recession of the early ‘70s, only 17% of the building was occupied and the building was nearly foreclosed on.

7. There are a total of 3,862 windows that gaze out on New York.

8. The entire building required about 400,000 rivets and nearly four million bricks, all laid by hand.

9. There are many elements of the building meant to be a subtle nod to Chrysler’s automobile empire - hubcaps, fenders, and radiator caps. The famous eagle gargoyles are even reminiscent of an actual Chrysler hood ornament.

10. The 66th through 68th floors of the building were once occupied by the Cloud Club, an exclusive gentlemen’s club with members such as Conde Nast and boxer Gene Tunney. It closed in the 1970s when the building fell on hard times.

q10

The World’s Largest Underwater Restaurant Just Opened in Norway—Take a Peek Inside

Ivar Kvaal
Ivar Kvaal

Months before it opened, the world's largest underwater restaurant in Norway was already flooded with reservations. Recently, Business Insider reported that Under has finally started serving its first guests. If you can't book a table at the hottest restaurant below sea level, you can look at the photos taken inside to get an idea of the unique dining experience.

In addition to being the largest underwater restaurant on Earth, Under, from the architecture firm Snøhetta, is also the first of its kind in Europe. It's located in the notoriously treacherous waters off Norway's southern coast.

Underwater restaurant jutting out of the sea.
Ivar Kvaal

After entering the angled building from the shore, guests descend into a 100-person dining room with panoramic views of the ocean and passing marine life. The concrete structure is designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment, eventually acting as an artificial reef that attracts plants and animals. The location boasts such biodiversity that Under is also being used as a research center for marine biologists.

Dining room of underwater restaurant.
Ivar Kvaal

Jellyfish in the ocean.
Ivar Kvaal

Once seated, diners will be treated to a seasonal meal from an international team of chefs led by Nicolai Ellitsgaard. The menu highlights locally sourced produce and sustainably caught wildlife. A full meal lasts roughly three-and-a-half to four hours.

Shellfish dish at Under restaurant.
Stian Broch

Spiny crab.
Stian Broch

Dining room of Under, the underwater restaurant.
Ivar Kvaal

Dining room of Under
Inger Marie Grini/Bo Bedre Norge

Seats at Under are fully booked from now to the end of September. If you're content with getting your name on a waiting list, you can try to reserve a table for earlier in the year through the restaurant's website.

[h/t Business Insider]

Frank Lloyd Wright's Designs Are Now Available as Bags, Phone Cases, and More

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA

From Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona to Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright is worth traveling for. Now you can wear the visionary's iconic style wherever you go with a new line of Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired apparel and accessories.

The new collaboration between VIDA and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation marks the first time that Wright's textile patterns have been made available as commercial products. Each item features original art and designs created by the architect. His bold, modernist creations have been printed on scarves, bags, ties, trays, and phone cases. Much like his buildings, the items use colors palettes reminiscent of what you'd see in nature.

Bags with Frank Lloyd Wright design

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA

Phone case with Frank Lloyd Wright design

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA

Wrap with Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA

Products in the Frank Lloyd Wright line range in price from $30 to $120. You can shop the collection in its entirety at the VIDA online store. (Until June 15, you can use the code MENTALFLOSS25 at checkout to receive 25 percent off your entire order.)

Wearing the fashionable apparel he inspired isn't the only way to appreciate the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. In May, The Met launched a digital catalog of the architect's forgotten fabrics and wallpapers on its website.

Tie with Frank Lloyd Wright design

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, VIDA

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