Built in 1929 and developed by Irwin S. Chanin, the Chanin Building is located at 122 East 42nd Street and is as prime example of the 1920s American dream as you can imagine: Irwin Chanin started his construction business building small homes in Brooklyn with very little money. From there, he steadily grew his business into the construction of apartment buildings, hotels, and theaters. He eventually built the Chanin Building, which remains one of Midtown’s Art Deco masterpieces, advertising it as an “icon of progress.” Today, the Chanin Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Chanin Building’s 56-story, bronze and terra cotta facade rises through a series of setbacks from a black Belgian marble base that surrounds the tower’s retail spaces. Immediately above, a bronze frieze depicts various scenes of human evolution. Inside, its lobbies feature the work of Jacques Delamarre and René Chambellan, who were instructed to design the lobbies to celebrate the self-made success of Irwin Chanin. Although it may seem to be overpowered by today’s neighboring skyscrapers, the Chanin Buiding was once the third tallest in the world.
At the time it was constructed, the Chanin Building featured a personal movie theater for Mr. Chanin, as well as a 54th floor observation deck, which has since been closed. From 1941 until the 1960s, the Chanin Building’s rooftop tower served as the transmission site for New York City’s WQXR, until the station moved to the Empire State Building.
In the sea of New York City’s commercial office buildings, the Chanin Building boasts its own unique style from a long-lost Manhattan era. But what’s not long-lost is the tower’s commitment to building performance: it has earned an Energy Star award each year since 2008.
- 122 E 42nd St, New York, New York
- Grand Central
- Energy Star
- Stahl Real Estate
- Sloan & Robertson
- Year Built
- Square Footage
- 820,000 square feet
- Earned Energy Stars in 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 with scores of 76, 84, 87, and 90, respectively; notable current tenants include Apple Bank for Savings.