Rockefeller Center in New York

Photo of Rockefeller Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Rockefeller Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Rockefeller Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Rockefeller Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Rockefeller Center
Formerly:Radio City

Bounded by 48th street, 51st street, Fifth Avenue, and Sixth Avenue, New York, New York, Midtown 10020
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One of the most prestigious office complexes on Manhattan Island, Rockefeller Center is the centerpiece of activity for thousands of New Yorkers who have embraced it as not just another boring office block, but as a warm symbol of a great city. Its rise to national stardom came not so much from the historic name it bears, but because for almost as long as there has been broadcasting, Rockefeller Center has been the home to some of the most powerful networks in the United States. The highlight of the complex is the General Electric Building, formerly the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Building. It is 850 feet of art deco splendor spread out over 70-stories of shops, offices, broadcasting studios, and more. In spite of its mammoth proportions, Rockefeller Center remains very pedestrian-friendly. It has a popular sunken garden that is home to a café in the summer, and an ice skating rink in the winter. Also in winter, the plaza's immense Christmas tree is illuminated in an elaborate ceremony broadcast live across the country. If Rockefeller plaza had a mascot, it would be Paul Manship's State of Promethus. But it was not a Greek god that made this colossus possible. It was America's first billionaire John D. Rockefeller, who in spite of the Great Depression managed to build this huge office complex while others predicted his failure. His fate was nearly sealed when the Metropolitan Opera pulled out of the project. They were supposed to be the linchpin in the operation. Now the problem facing Rockefeller's architects was how to build enough office space to make the project work economically. What they did is consolidate the entire 17 acre property into a single superblock. Thirteen buildings would be short, allowing light and air into the plaza and creating a human-scale experience. The fourteenth building could be huge because it inherited the air rights of its smaller neighbors allowing it to assume its 70-story height. There are now 21 buildings in Rockefeller Center, housing such famous places as Radio City Music Hall, the Rainbow Room, and the of NBC's shows like "Today," and "Saturday Night Live." They are connected by a series of underground tunnels which, themselves, support a variety of shops.

The original Rockefeller Center buildings are:

1. 1 Rockefeller Plaza (formerly the Time and Life Building)
2. 10 Rockefeller Plaza (formerly the Eastern Airlines Building)
3. 1270 Avenue of the Americas Building (formerly the RKO Building)
4. The Associated Press Building
5. The British Empire Building
6. Channel Gardens (so-called because it lies between the British Empire Building and La Maison Francaise.)
7. The International Building
8. La Maison Francaise
9. Palazzo d'Italia
10. The Simon & Schuster Building (formerly the U.S. Rubber Company Building)

Quick Facts
    >Rockefeller Center was originally a collection of theaters and homes on land owned by Columbia University.
    >There are 488 elevators in Rockefeller Center.
    >In 1937, Rockefeller Plaza's statue of Atlas by Lee Lowrie and Rene Chambellan created controversy because it resembled Italian dictator Mussolini.
    >At one time the Center featured a mural by Diego Rivera. It was destroyed because it appeared to glorify Lenin
    >1999 - Radio City Music Hall underwent a $70,000,000.00 renovation.
    >June, 2001 - Another piece of oversized public art has been installed at Rockefeller Center in New York. Last summer a giant puppy made from flowers called the plaza home. This year it's a huge spider big enough for pedestrians to walk under. The creator of the 12-ton arachnid is Louise Bourgeois, an almost 90-year-old French artist who titled the bronze spider "Mother."
    >July, 2001 - A fire broke out at the top of New York's Rockefeller Center. The blaze ignited in a construction area next to the famous Rainbow Room restaurant. Diners were interrupted during their meals and had to walk down to the ground floor from the 65th floor. No one was hurt.
    > October 30, 2005 - The 70th floor observation deck reopens to the public. It was closed in 1986 because of an expansion of the Rainbow Room.
    "Harmonious in its functional elements."
    -Swiss architect Le Corbusier

    "A cross section of metropolitan disorder."
    -Press reviews of the Center's design
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Your Thoughts

There are four comments.

  I would say it's beautiful within its surroundings as well.

Lydia - Saturday, December 20th, 2008 @ 12:40pm  

  A spectacular complex full of New York icons and traditions. It's full of lavish details to admire and enjoy. The older it gets the more beautiful it is.

Don Borgerson - Friday, November 14th, 2008 @ 10:44pm