Among New York City's many treasures is Rockefeller Center, a monument to modern architectural finesse melded with the American spirit of capitalism. This National Historic Landmark envelops 22 acres of Midtown Manhattan, with Fifth and Sixth Avenues capturing its width, and 48th Street to 51st Street making up the length.
Rockefeller Center began in the mind and the pockets of its namesake, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928 with the intention of constructing a new venue for the Metropolitan Opera. When the stock market crashed in 1929, all plans for an opera house went down with it. What emerged in its place were 14 buildings constructed in an Art Deco style, privately funded by Rockefeller himself. Completed November 1st, 1939, it became the largest private building complex that modern eyes have ever seen.
The Rockefeller Center of today has maintained its giant legacy, with the addition of four Industrial-style towers and the equally towering presence of big business and innumerable historic locales. Sights include Radio City Music Hall, the legendary performance venue and tourist hot-spot, endless shopping centers, business complexes, and a healthy smattering of integrated public art and picturesque parks. The 70-floor GE Building juts from the center of the sprawl, boasting the Rainbow Room, NBC Headquarters, Saturday Night Live, and a stunning view of the city from the Top of the Rock. In the foreground is the Lower Plaza, home to the annual Christmas tree and popular ice skating rink. Any self-respecting tourist with half a day, or even half an hour, cannot resist the wealth of history, art, business, and bustle that pervades this epic complex, drawing them in and bringing them back with more photos, souvenirs, and speculations than any other part of the city can offer.
- Top of the Rock Hours: 8am to 12am daily, last elevator goes up at 11pm
- Rockefeller Center Tour Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, Sunday: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm
- NBC Studios Tour Hours: Monday through Thursday 8:30am to 4:30pm (departs every 30 minutes)
- Subway Stop:
- F, D, B, V trains to Rockefeller Center
- Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza (Entrance on 50th Street) New York, NY
- Phone: 212-332-6868
- Website: www.rockefellercenter.com
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck: www.topoftherocknyc.com
- NBC Universal Store Website: www.nbcuniversalstore.com