View From the Top

Chrysler Building public observation deck gets the go-ahead

Fly like an eagle: The Chrysler Building is getting a public observation deck on its 61st floor. (William Wachter/Unsplash)

Although observation decks remain shuttered across New York City (the newest and most dizzying in town was effectively shut down the day after it opened due to the coronavirus outbreak), the thirst for vertiginous ticketed attractions in the Big Apple hasn’t subsided. And RFR Realty, new-ish owner of the city’s 1,046-foot Art Deco landmark, the Chrysler Building, is happy to oblige.

Earlier this week at a virtual public hearing, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission signed off on plans to build-out a glass panel-enclosed public observation deck on the terraces of the skyscraper’s 61st floor near its iconic silver eagles. Gensler was tapped by RFR to design the space.

And to be clear, this won’t be the first observation deck at the Chrysler Building, which turns 90 later this month. The 71st floor was once home to an observation deck dubbed the Celestial that was in operation for 15 years until closing in 1945 per the New York Post.

RFR honcho Aby Rosen has also expressed interest in reviving the Cloud Club. This legendary, long-running lunch club famous for its Dover sole, bread-and-butter pudding, and decidedly eclectic decor catered to big spenders on the 66th through 68th floors up until 1979. In addition to throwback sky-high clubs, Rosen wants to bring other retail and dining venues to the building as well.

“I see the building as a Sleeping Beauty: It needs to be woken up and revitalized,” Rosen told the Post last year after purchasing the for-sale building, once the tallest in the world for a hot minute in 1930/1931, for $150 million.

A timeline for the new observation deck has not been revealed.

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