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Named after the infamous John D. Rockefeller Jr., Rockefeller Center is a historical complex located in Midtown Manhattan. As part of the rise of modern New York City, the development of high rises truly skyrocketed when Rockefeller Center was designed. It consists of many buildings in a plaza which spans 47th-50th Streets in Manhattan.
The History of Rockefeller Center
The area that is now Rockefeller Center was owned by the man of whom the plaza has its namesake. The inspiration was to create a contemporary and innovative space that was not only functional, but attractive. As sole financier of the complex, Rockefeller constructed over 10 buildings in Art Deco style in the 1930s. The buildings attracted tenants because of the Rockefeller name behind the project. Even the U.S. British Intelligence operations worked in Rockefeller Center, becoming a center for the Allied Forces.
Mostly businesses like Time Warner, or the Rockefeller Group themselves called Rockefeller Plaza home. It almost functions as a city within a city, with many integrated businesses, retail shops and attractions in one central location. Famous landmarks include the British Empire Building, NBC Studios, and the Outdoor Plaza. The entire Plaza itself is a city landmark as well.
Art and Culture at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller's idea was to create a space that was simple, but easy on the eyes and he succeeded at doing so. It is a fantastic example of architectural art deco design while featuring other prominent pieces. One is the bronze gilded statue of Prometheus, in front of 30 Rockefeller Center. It is most synonymous with Rockefeller Center's image. Other works include a breathtaking mural by the artist Josep Maria Sert, which is titled American Progress.
Famous Buildings in Rockefeller Center
The focal point of Rockefeller Center is the GE Building, otherwise known as 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A popular comedy television series is named after the very same building. It is famous for "Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper" photograph, which was taken in 1932 when construction workers sat and simply enjoyed lunch on a long, steel beam. With the backdrop of Manhattan behind them, the picture is shock worthy because they are not wearing safety harnesses. 30 Rockefeller Plaza is also home to the Rainbow Room, a famous restaurant on the 64th floor. It is also the headquarters for NBC, a television network which hosts the news and famous shows like Saturday Night Live. Another famous tenant was the Associated Press, located at 50 Rockefeller Plaza which is now known as the Bank of America Building. It was home to many news agencies as the center of media in New York City.
Underground in Rockefeller Center
Below ground is a small concourse which is a pedestrian passageway. It is a great place to get through the city on an especially cold or rainy day. There are access to landmark buildings and restaurants and shopping opportunities as well. It is also accessible to the 47-50th Street subway station via the New York City Subway sixth Avenue Line which is below Sixth Avenue.
Top of the Rock
The greatest redevelopment of the 21st century is the newly renovated observation deck, otherwise known as the Top of the Rock. The original observation deck dated back to 1933 but was closed for many years after expansions of The Rainbow Room. But, in 2005, as an attempt to revitalize the spirit of New York and the deck itself, the Top of the Rock was redeveloped for many to enjoy the 360 degree views of New York City.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
When the Christmas season rolls around in New York City, the occasion is felt especially at Rockefeller Center. Tourist season is at its peak when the large Christmas tree, often hundreds of feet tall is lit and on display in the center of the Plaza. The Rockefeller Center tree lighting brings lots of tourists to the Plaza to share the Christmas joy. It is typical to view the tree during the season and enjoy a day of ice skating at the ice rink below, which can also be enjoyed all year around.