The Real Deal New York

The Chrysler Building once had apartments

And other forgotten facts about the iconic tower

July 23, 2016 11:00AM

Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress

Photo credit: Carol M. Highsmith America Collection/Library of Congress

The Empire State Building gets all the attention but real building connoisseurs and Art Deco devotees know that the Chrysler Building is the real architectural tour de force. So here are a few facts you probably didn’t know about the iconic tower.

Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White

For instance, Untapped Cities clued us into the fact that the Chrysler Building once boasted an unreasonably cool private club near the top of the tower. Known appropriately as the Cloud Club, it was a restaurant for executives noted for its mix of design styles, which included a Tudor lounge, an Old English Grill and Futurist dining room.

The club closed in the late 1970s.

Another fascinating historical tidbit is that there were once apartments in the building. On the top floor, Walter P. Chrysler had a private apartment, and was said to boast of having the highest toilet in Manhattan, according to Untapped Cities.

LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White – known for her photograph on the building’s gargoyle — also had an apartment on the 61st floor.

And finally, one of the building’s most interesting real estate secrets: the Chrysler Building has never paid the city a dime in taxes. In fact, the land under the tower is owned by Cooper Union, and is an endowment for the college. The Chrysler Building pays Cooper Union, which is tax-exempt, for the land. [Untapped Cities] Christopher Cameron