Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center, originally known as Radio City is a complex of buildings developed in the midst of the Great Depression. Initially the complex consisted of 14 buildings, the 70 story RCA building being the tallest.
Metropolitan Opera
The area where the Rockefeller Center is located was originally planned as the new location for the Metropolitian Opera. The original area, between 48th and 51st streets, Fifth and Sixth avenue, was a red-light district owned by Columbia University. Rockefeller Center from the Empire State BuildingJohn D. Rockefeller Jr. leased the area on behalf of the Metropolitan Opera.
The design of the complex was done by the architect Benjamin Wistar Morris. When the Met abandoned the project after the 1929 stock market crash, Rockefeller came up with a plan for a corporate complex to house the new radio and television corporations. Radio City was born.

Radio City
One of the first buildings completed was the RCA building, which served as the headquarters of the Radio Corporation of America. The tower, clad in Indiana limestone, is at 70 stories and 256 meter / 850 ft the tallest of the complex. Its design by Raymond Hood - also known from GE Building, Rockefeller Center, New Yorkthe American Radiator Building in New York, the formerMcGraw-Hill building in New York and the Tribune Tower in Chicago - was the basis for all future buildings at the Rockefeller.

To lure tenants during the Depression, all efforts were made to ensure efficient use of the available floor space. Thanks to the setbacks each office was assured of natural light. Other assets were fast elevators, air-conditioning and excellent underground connections to the subway.
The RCA building is now also known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza or GE Building.

Top of the Rock - the Observation Deck
The Rockefeller Center features an observation deck atop the GE Building with panoramic views of Central Park and Empire State Building. When the former RCA building opened in 1933 it featured Top Of The Rocka roof terrace designed as the deck of an ocean liner. Ventilation pipes were shaped as a ship's chimneys and visitors could relax in deck chairs. The observation deck remained open until 1986. By then the number of visitors had dropped while costs increased. At the same time the expansion of the popular Rainbow Room restaurant on the 65th floor cut off the elevator access to the roof, leading to the deck's closure.

Fortunately the observation deck reopened again in November 2005, finally View from Rockefeller Center towards Central Parkgiving the nearby Empire State Building's observatory some competition. After a renovation of some 75 million dollars, the art-deco style observation deck, promoted as the 'Top of the Rock' can be visited once again; only the deck chairs have disappeared.

A separate entrance at West 50th Street leads to the elevators. In the elevator, important historic events since 1933 are projected on the elevator's transparent roof.

There are in total three levels open to the public, including the roof terrace. The first is on the 67th floor and is completely covered. Prometheus Statue, Rockefeller Center, New YorkThe observation deck on the 69th floor has glass windshields while the 70th floor is completely open to the elements, offering visitors a fabulous 360 degree view.

Radio City
By 1940 Radio City, which became known as Rockefeller Center consisted of 14 buildings, located around a Atlas Statuecentral sunken plaza, the Lower Plaza. The plaza, best known for its very popular skating rink, is connected to Fifth Avenue via a pedestrian street decorated with statues and flowers. It is known as the Channel Gardens, as it is flanked by the British Empire Building and La Maison Française. From the Channel Gardens you have a nice view on the sculpture of Prometheus and the GE building. Another important building in the Rockefeller Center is the Radio City Music Hall. When built, it was the largest indoor theater in the world GE Buildingwith a seating capacity of around 6000. Guided tours give you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Art Deco interior.

A City in the City
The Rockefeller Center, known as the 'city in the city' is an exceptional example of civic planning. All buildings share a common design style, Art Deco, and are connected to each other via an underground concourse, the Catacombs. The complex is nevertheless well integrated in the City, especially along Fifth Avenue. In 1959 and the early seventies, the Rockefeller Center was extended with 5 additional buildings along sixth Avenue.

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  1. This is very informative, love the pictures...and the details on the topic...have a fantastic day !!! (((HUGS)))

  2. I've always wanted to visit New York. Such a dynamic and interesting city. Each building and landmark seems to be a work of art!

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  6. Great views of New York Chilly and like you I have done forums to death, so I shall be looking into doing more blogging where I can just be responsible for myself.

    Really nice blog.


  7. Were you born in New York Chilly and whereabouts do you live there now - I know, I'm incredibly nosy. I should love to see it one day. I'm so envious.




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