Designed by William van Alen for Walter Chrysler and completed in 1930, the 77-floor Chrysler Building briefly reigned as the world‘s tallest structure before being overtopped by the Empire State Building - for which it is commonly mistaken - less than a year later. With it‘s unique monumental nirosta metal stylised eagle gargoyles, winged hood ornaments and sunburst crown it remains one of the most distinctive Art Deco skyscrapers ever built. The building was originally commissioned by developer William J. Reynolds, who hired William Van Alen as his architect. New York was caught up in a rush to put up the world‘s tallest building. The Chrysler Corporation took the project over from Reynolds; the company‘s chairman, Walter P. Chrysler, wanted the prestige of claiming credit for the world‘s tallest building. Chrysler didn‘t demand drastic changes to Van Alen‘s original design, but the building‘s most significant embellishments came about as the result of Chrysler‘s involvement -- most notably the famous hood-ornament eagles, whose sleek heads extend majestically from eight corner points at the building‘s 61st floor. At the time of its construction, the Chrysler Building was involved in a race to be the tallest building in the world. The Bank of Manhattan Building, under construction at the same time, topped out at 927 feet, two feet above the Chrysler‘s announced height. It appeared that the Bank of Manhattan had won, but van Alen had a plan: the Chrysler Building‘s spire, a series of sunbursts punctuated by triangular windows, had been secretly assembled in the building‘s fire shaft. Suddenly, it was hoisted into place in one 27 ton piece, raising the Chrysler Building‘s height to 1046 feet, 119 feet taller than the Bank of Manhattan and even taller than the Eiffel Tower.