USA series: Chrysler Building, Macy’s department store and US Open Tennis

The Chrysler Building from street level

The Chrysler Building from street level

New York City is famous for several of its tall and magnificent buildings.  Alex and I are today heading to one of these buildings, the iconic Chrysler Building.

The Chrysler Building was built in the 1930’s and reflects the character build of its era, often recognised for its terraced stainless steel clad crown, built in a radiating sunburst design, incorporating triangular windows.  This building’s spire is especially beautiful illuminated at night.

Also today we will also visit Macy’s department store.  Tonight we head to the US Open tennis, a tournament held during August/September each year at Flushing Meadows.

12:00pm
The easiest way to reach the Chrysler Building, as with much of Manhattan, is to take the subway.  We take the subway to the beautiful 42nd Street/Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station exterior

Grand Central Station exterior

They don't make em' like they used to

From Grand Central Station we can walk the short distance to the Chrysler Building’s main entrance on the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 42nd Street.

Now that's a door

Now that’s a door

Inside looking out

On reaching the Chrysler Building we discover, unfortunately, that we can’t go up to the top, or so says the guy on the security desk. “Really?” I ask pleadingly.

Apparently when the building first opened there was a viewing area on the 71st floor. This is no longer available to the public…. stopped since 1945 which makes us a mere… umm… 68 years too late!

Plan B is quickly put into place.  Plan B means making do with spending some time in its beautiful foyer with its beautiful inlaid wood detail (of the elevator doors)…

Even the lifts have fancy doors

Even the lifts have fancy doors

and ceiling mural.

Chrysler Building interior ceiling mural

Chrysler Building interior ceiling mural

Chrysler Building interior

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The only other option for us to otherwise check out the Chrysler Building’s famous spire is sadly from a distance.  One of its competition buildings, the Empire State Building does have a viewing area open to the public which we will visit during our stay.  This will give us a fantastic view of the Chrysler Building, lit up.

The Chrysler Building according to Wikipedia:

“The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan in the Turtle Bay area at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.  At 1,046 feet (319 m), the structure was the world’s tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. It is still the tallest brick building in the world, albeit with an internal steel skeleton.

The Chrysler Building is a classic example of Art Deco architecture and considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City. It was the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s.  Although the building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for the construction of it and never owned it, as Walter P Chrysler decided to pay for it himself, so that his children could inherit it.”

1:30pm
We take the time (and effort) to walk the 10+ blocks to Macy’s department store.  We are on holidays and not in any rush and are basically just enjoying being a part of the city, just two more tourists cruising around. 

Manhattan Street

Manhattan Street

Macy’s is a mid-range to upscale department store chain and claims to be “The World’s Largest Store”.

The place looks big

The place looks big

Macy’s according to Macy’s Inc:

“Macy’s, Inc. is one of the nation’s premier retailers, with fiscal 2012 sales of $27.7 billion. The company operates the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brands with about 840 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, and the macys.com and bloomingdales.com websites. The company also operates 13 Bloomingdale’s Outlet stores.”

Inside, Macy’s is fairly crowded, busy with mostly other tourists.  There are also internal renovations going on which adds to the chaos.

We do have a couple of things to buy and head to the bank of elevators.

“Manchester?” I ask as I approach the lift attendant.  The attendant shakes my hand and says “I love Manchester”…

Huh?…”No, I’m not from Manchester, I’m looking for manchester” … he looks at me funny… “sheets?”  I clarify… “bed sheets”.   That was awkward.

With purchases bought, we leave the busy store with our two Macy’s bags, recognised by the white background against a big red 5 pointed star, emblazoned with “Macy’s” of course.

5:30pm
We are meeting J-Man (as Alex’s nephew suggested he be called) back at his apartment before heading off to the US Open tonight.  To get to Flushing Meadows from his apartment on the Upper West Side, we walk to J-Man’s closest subway and catch the “1” subway line.  This line 1 will take us direct to Flushing Meadows, home of the US Open, albeit it takes about an hour before we reach the entrance.

US Open according to Wikipedia:

“The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hardcourt tennis tournament which is the modern iteration of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men’s singles was first contested in 1881. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three are the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. It is held annually in late August and early September over a two-week period.”

Tennis anyone? panoramic

Tennis anyone? panoramic

Our USA$78 tickets gets us access into the Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Tonight is the second round, night five of the USA Open and Alex is excited.  The draw for tonight is Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) v Juan Del Potro (Argentina).

Outside courts of US Open

Outside courts of US Open

The weather is absolutely perfect and the chance of catching an Australian playing was purely coincidental and pot luck.

The grounds of the US Open are quite extensive and Alex can’t help but buy himself a cap and T-shirt.

Outlook from Arthur Ashe Stadium

Outlook from Arthur Ashe Stadium

Given it is a Friday night and a long weekend in New York, there are people everywhere and wines and beers are being had.  Everyone is in great spirits.

Our seats are in the nose-bleeds, near the top of the open air stadium, although spared the embarrassment of the absolute back row, we are about 13 rows from the top. 

Arthur Ashe Stadium interior from the nose bleed section

Arthur Ashe Stadium interior from the nose bleed section

and with the lights on...

We settle in for a great night of tennis.

Our return journey to J-Man’s apartment on the Upper West Side is the reverse of our earlier trip to Flushing Meadows (without pointing out the bleeding obvious).

Before getting back to the apartment we stop for a coffee at a local café and work out our plans for tomorrow which is going to include exploring Central Park and taking the Roosevelt Island Tram to Roosevelt Island. 

The Roosevelt Island Tram seems to be one of the lesser known things to do while in Manhattan and I hope it is not completely naff or else I will be in big trouble with Alex.[showmyads]

For previous USA series post see Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Memorial
For next USA series post see Central Park and Roosevelt Island Tram