Divorce New York Style

The fairy world was multi-dimensional with total freedom of movement on all four axes. Humans, on the other hand, tended to putter about in two dimensions. They had three dimensional capabilities of course: they could see in 3-D, their brains could process 3-D information but movement along the Z axis tended to be restricted to the odd hop, skip and/or jump.

As the twentieth century progressed, various technical innovations enabled humans to transport themselves at different altitudes, although once they had achieved the desired altitude they tended to stay there until they arrived at their destination (and on the occasions they didn’t they tended to regret it).

However, it was two of the masters of the human two-dimensional universe that transported the quotidian human world into three dimensions. Ironically, it was the invention of a brake which empowered this new upward mobility. This particular brake was the brain child of Elisha Graves Otis and stopped not cars, but lifts. Once this satisfactory method had been found of slowing down the descent of malfunctioning elevators, humans needed no further encouragement and started to build up and up until they scraped the sky.

Walter Chrysler, head of the Chrysler Motor company, wanted the tallest sky-scraper of them all. He was not the only magnate with the same idea, and the Bank of Manhatten building was already underway. Construction of the Chrysler building began in 1928. In 1930, a third player entered the field: John J. Raskob,  head of General Motors. Now, Mr Raskob was an extremely focused individual and he was determined to build the tallest sky-scraper in New York (and by inference in the World). To this end he sought out some otherworldly assistance.

Being at somewhat of a loose end, they would have been quite prepared to lend such assistance as they could without remuneration (although of course they didn’t let on). However, it so happened that the Fairies were themselves in need of something: large amounts of energy.

Accordingly, the fairies visited the offices of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and peered over the shoulder of William Lamb as he worked. They delighted in the stepped-back design (they loved art deco absolutely) ; they were appreciative of  the four street faces; they adored the proportions; they reveled in the sheer scale and with many a spark, jolt and flash of genius they planted the seed that grew into a lightning rod for the whole block.

Completed in 1931, the building at 350 Fifth Avenue has received more than its fair share of famous and even royal visitors.

In 1933 perhaps its most famous visitor came to town. The “Mightiest King of Them All” had been snared by an all American girl-next-door and, following a rather bizarre marriage ceremony in the King’s homeland, had returned to New York for the honeymoon. After a less than successful visit to the theatre, the couple had returned to their hotel by separate routes. The King caught up with his bride and they were both seen to exit the hotel via the window, heading up towards the roof. It’s not known exactly what transpired but the couple were next seen ascending the outside of the Empire State Building. Suspicions were arroused that the bride might be being held against her will (though to be fair, were she not being held she would have been pizza) and the police were called. Being Fifth Avenue, the police put on a show worthy of an M.C. Cooper movie but to no avail. Reinforcements were called in the form of naval aviators (this being the 1930‘s), and before long a flight of Curtiss 02c-2 trainers sporting Vickers machine guns were buzzing the dirigible mooring mast and pioneering the practice of divorce, New York style.

It’s interesting to note that the next royal visitor to New York also lost a kingdom, although in his case the divorce came before the marriage.

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