Art Deco Holmes in France found its American equivalent in the design of the New York skyscrapers of the 1920s. The Chrysler Building... was one of the most accomplished essays in the style.
John Julius, The World Atlas of Architecture (1994)
The design, originally drawn up for building contractor William H. Reynolds, was finally sold to Walter P. Chrysler, who wanted a provocative building which would not merely scrape the sky but positively pierce it. Its 77 floors briefly making it the highest building in the world—at least until the Empire State Building was completed—it became the star of the New York skyline, thanks above all to its crowning peak. In a deliberate strategy of myth generation, Van Alen planned a dramatic moment of revelation: the entire seven-storey pinnacle, complete with special-steel facing, was first assembled inside the building, and then hoisted into position through the roof opening and anchored on top in just one and a half hours. All of a sudden it was there — a sensational fait accompli.
Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser, Architecture in the Twentieth Century (1996)
One of the first uses of stainless steel over a large exposed building surface. The decorative treatment of the masonry walls below changes with every set-back and includes story-high basket-weave designs, radiator-cap gargoyles, and a band of abstract automobiles. The lobby is a modernistic composition of African marble and chrome steel.
Elliot Willensky and Norval White, AIA Guide to New York (2000)