The Chrysler Building is one of the most beloved of New York City’s skyscrapers, an architectural manifestation of both the Art Deco era and the automobile age. Famous as it may be, the Chrysler Building holds many fascinating secrets, compounded by the fact that it is difficult to visit and doesn’t offer tours, unlike the Woolworth Building and the Empire State Building. Here are 10 lesser-known facts about the Chrysler Building, many derived from a Q&A with David Stravitz, the author of The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon Day by Day with The New York Times in 2009.
1. There used to be a three-level members club and speakeasy near the top
Once located on the 66th to 68th floors of the Chrysler Building, The Cloud Club once sat atop one of the city’s most distinctive skyscrapers. The New York Times called The Cloud Club “the inspiration for many of the others.” It was initially designed for Texaco, the American oil company that occupied 14 floors of the Chrysler Building, and used as a restaurant for executives.
The Cloud Club had an eclectic mix of designs, ranging from Futurist in the main dining room, Tudor for the lounge, and Old English for the grill room. Perhaps because of its decor, or its original function, it never became hip and stylish like Rockefeller Center‘s Rainbow Room but it did have amenities like a barber shop and locker rooms that were used to hide alcohol during Prohibition. After the club closed in the late 1970s, the spaces was gutted for office tenants.