Rockefeller Center in New York

Rockefeller Center in New York

Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings located between 48th and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck, one of the major tourist attractions of New York, is on top of the Comcast Building at Rockefeller Center. Also, the headquarters of NBC Television Network and Radio City Music Hall is part of Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center Tour

During the Rockefeller Center Tour, you will learn more about the rich history and architecture of Rockefeller Center. An expert historian will take you through the most important buildings, gardens and spaces of the complex. The tour lasts about an hour and gives you the opportunity to see Rockefeller Center in a very different light.

Book the Rockefeller Center Tour here

History of Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center and the observation deck were a gift from John D. Rockefeller to Manhattan. In building Rockefeller Center, he wanted to create a space where visitors and locals could marvel at the city. Rockefeller Center has known many ups and downs since its completion in 1933.

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is an iconic symbol of the holidays in New York City. The tradition of lighting the Christmas Tree began in 1933 when workers at the Rockefeller Center site decided to adorn the center’s courtyard with a 20-foot balsam fir. Every year since then, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting has grown in size and popularity.

The Rockefeller ice skating rink first opened in 1936. Initially, it was designed as a temporary ice rink to attract the crowds, but eventually, it became an annual fixture. The rink has a capacity of 150 people.

Rockefeller Center in New York - Ice rink Rockefeller Center in New York - Terrace

Ups and Downs

The 1940s were prosperous for Rockefeller Center: more than 90% of the commercial buildings were rented. Rockefeller Center hit a rough patch in the 1970s with the economic crisis, leaving many of the buildings vacant. However, in the 1980s it made a comeback when the trade market was booming and people could become shareholders. In addition, the Rainbow Room on the 65th floor reopened after a US$20 million renovation and Frank Sinatra’s five performances at Radio City Music Hall in the ‘90s were sold out! After another setback in the ‘90s, new investors were found. Thanks to these investors, the underground subway station was renovated.

Rockefeller Center in New York - Top of the Rock Rockefeller Center in New York Radio City Music Hall

The Reopening of the Top of the Rock

The 20th century was about recreating John D. Rockefeller’s original vision to “create a place for locals and visitors to marvel at the city he loved”. After renovations of almost 20 years, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at 30 Rockefeller Center opened again for the public. The observation deck had been closed from 1986 to 2005, primarily because of major renovations elsewhere in the building. After that, Rockefeller Center faced financial troubles. Eventually, the Top of the Rock itself was renovated and finally reopened in November 2005. Currently, it attracts over 2.5 million visitors per year.

The Rainbow Room Restaurant

The Rainbow Room is a legendary restaurant and event space that has undergone lengthy renovations over the years. Since its opening in 1934, the Rainbow Room has hosted some of the world’s most famous celebrities, musicians, politicians, and businesspeople. This place is very fancy but what would you expect from a New York landmark that is situated on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center in New York City? Nowadays, the restaurant and the bar on the same floor are only open for private events and special occasions.

NBC Studios

NBC (the National Broadcasting Company) moved to Rockefeller Center in 1933. Thanks to the studios, the American public has been able to enjoy many shows such as The Today Show and Saturday Night Live. When NBC made the switch from radio to television more than 1,500 miles of wiring was needed. In 1994, the Today Show broadcast was aired at street level.

Rockefeller Center in New York - NBC

Rockefeller Center in New York - Comcast Building

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