At the beginning of the 20th century, the race for the tallest building in the world started. The Chrysler Building at 405 Lexington Avenue was the first building to top the then-highest building, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. New York would keep the highest building in the world until 1974, when the Sears Tower was built in Chicago.
For Walter P. Chrysler, from the car manufacturer, building the highest building in the world was a status symbol. The Chrysler building was in a race with the Bank of Manhattan for obtaining the title of highest building in the world. It looked like the Bank of Manhattan would win the race, with an expected height of 283 meters against the around 230 meters for the Chrysler building. But the spire of the Chrysler building was constructed in secret inside the tower.
Just one week after the Bank of Manhattan had reached its top, the spire of the Chrysler building was put in place, making it 319 meters high, thus beating the Bank of Manhattan as the highest building in the world. It would not keep this title for long: one year later the Empire State Building was erected.
Sentience and Freedom
After The Green Scar and his Warbound were defeated in World War Hulk, Hiroim, Korg, and The Thing combined their powers to seal a fault line in Manhattan by infusing it with shadow-stone. In the process, they infused shadow-stone into the foundation of the Chrysler Building.
The shadow-stone, a mineral with psychoreactive properties, imbued the Chrysler building with the echos of hopes, dreams, and feelings of every human to have ever stepped foot inside the building. The building came to life, growing a stone face and arms.
The Chrysler Building expressed a general disdain for remaining where it was and demanded it be allowed to stretch it's legs (which it didn't have). At the same time, Damage Control and several superheroes demanded that it remain still, both to limit collateral damage and to keep the building doing it's job of staying still. A short battle ensued, during which the Chrysler Building defeated all the superheroes present in a matter of seconds.
Eventually John Porter negotiated a deal with the structure. Damage Control mounted the building on an anti-gravity platform, allowing the building to travel wherever it wanted for one month every year (because, "no one's in Manhattan in August"). It's first vacation was to Japan, where the Building claimed to have a fabulous time and was treated as a celebrity.
In the Age of X, the Chrysler Building served as a temporary refuge for Forge and a handful of mutants he was helping escape to Canada until Magneto used it and a few other skyscrapers to build their new base.
The Chrysler Buidling has also been portrayed in this universe. Vampire X had a meeting with his legion of vampires atop the Chrysler Builidng. During the meeting, Anthony used the power of Iron Man's armor to remove a tracking device by hand from Nerd Hulk's chest. . The Chrysler Building can easily be seen from the Baxter Building. 
In the Avengers, the Chrysler building is an important plot device, as Thor used it as amplifier for his lightning attack which he used to ravage the Chitauri reinforcements.
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Links and References
- Fantastic Four #18 - The Thing lands atop the spire of the Chrysler Building after being slammed through the air by the Super-Skrull.
- Chrysler Building at Wikipedia