The Great and Powerful Stainless Steel
I remember my first trip to New York City well; it was the summer after I graduated from high school and my parents had given me the gift of an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the country. Being one who spent the last four years ruining her eyes on Salinger and Ginsberg in between perfecting my Woody Allen impersonation, I naturally jumped on the chance to touch base with my heroes’ old stomping grounds.
After having my fill on the cafes and bars the baby-faced Dylan and Co. sharpened their teeth in, I decided to make my way to the flashier, overly-touristy neighborhood of Manhattan. There I spent the next several hours craning my neck up and around in attempt to properly drink in the monuments, parks and buildings I had only ever seen in pictures; the churches, the piers, the still standing twin towers, the universities, the halls, the libraries, the cemeteries and, of course, the ol’ Chrysler Building, looking steely and elegant on the corner of 42nd and Lexington. Once the world’s tallest building for the blink of 11 months, the Chrysler Building was built in 1930, distinguishable by its Art Deco architecture, which involves an eclectic style and highly decorative upper portion, of which is made of stainless steel. The particular grade of stainless steel they used in this instance, like most grades, exhibits very high durability without losing any of that pretty, stainless class. At that time my knowledge and intentional appreciation for architecture was highly limited, but that afternoon, standing beneath the Chrysler Building—that magnificent piece of artistry, so elegant compared to the unfashionable, unclassical contours of the surrounding skyscrapers—I remember feeling deep awe and respect for its grandness and beauty.
The Chrysler Building’s timeliness, like many buildings, monuments and structures of various kinds and intentions, is partly due to stainless steel. Stainless steel is a steel alloy popular for its resistance to wear, tear and rust, low upkeep and attractive shine, making it an appealing material for both artistic and practical intentions. There are over 150 grades of steel and a countless number of ways it can be used and appreciated.