The competitive climate of 1920s Manhattan drove the creation of the Chrysler building, which ultimately surpassed even the Eiffel Tower in height. William Van Alen made it distinctive through inventively applied Art Deco design, using machine-age motifs such as hubcaps and radiator caps, and American eagle heads in place of traditional gargoyles.
Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, carried out in partnership with the American Library Association, which provides an innovative way to experience America’s history through our nation’s art. Visit the Picturing America website to learn more. For more videos like this, visit Picturing America on Screen.