Posts Tagged ‘Chanin Building’

A daredevil stuntman on a 42nd Street skyscraper

April 8, 2013

Why is this man standing on his head on a skyscraper being fed donuts?

It’s a publicity stunt, of course. That’s Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly, famous in the 1920s for his flagpole-sitting feats (his record is 49 days).


By 1939, when this photo was taken, the flagpole-sitting fad was over, and Kelly was reduced to doing gimmicks for events such as National Donut Dunking Week—which is the reason he’s upside-down on the roof of the Chanin Building on East 42nd Street.

He gained notoriety for his daredevil feats in life, and then for the way he died near his apartment on West 51st Street. “Broke and on welfare, Kelly dropped dead in 1952 while walking between two parked cars in New York City,” states

“Clutched tightly in one arm was a scrapbook containing clippings and mementos from his glory days as King of the Flagpole Sitters.”

[Photo: New York Daily News]

“The Glow of the City,” 1929

July 21, 2010

Australian-born artist Martin Lewis casts a magical glow on an otherwise gritty city scene of laundry, fire escapes, and tenements. 

That’s the Chanin Building, an Art Deco skyscraper on 42nd Street, the woman is gazing at dreamily.

It’s just one of Lewis’ many drypoint etchings that capture New York street life in the 1920s and 1930s.

A 42nd Street skyscraper’s leaf motif

December 7, 2009

This lovely band of leaflike curves is part of the lower facade of the Chanin Building, a 56-story office tower on Lexington and 42nd Street.

It’s a little bit of Art Deco across from the Beaux-Arts Grand Central Terminal, which was built just a decade and a half earlier but feels like it’s from an entirely different era.