Rockefeller Center New York
By Anna Lynn Sibal
When people living outside New York City think of the Rockefeller Center, what first comes to their minds are the spectacular Christmas tree that is put up there every Christmas season as well as the public skating rink that this Christmas tree overlooks. But there is definitely a lot more to the Rockefeller Center aside from the Christmas tree and the skating rink, and these significant extras make very pleasant surprises for the tourist going on his first visit to the Rockefeller Center.
The Rockefeller Center, located in the heart of Manhattan, is a complex made up of 19 commercial buildings and a number of small parks within 22 acres of land. Built and previously owned by the famous philanthropic Rockefeller family, the Rockefeller Center is fondly called “a city within a city.” The Rockefeller Center was a significant undertaking when it was being built in the 1930s because it provided some 75,000 people with continuous work during the Great Depression.
Largely noted as prime examples of Art Deco architecture, the Rockefeller Center contains a large number of sculptures standing within its public squares. Among these notable pieces of sculpture are Lee Lawrie’s statue of Atlas and Paul Manship’s Prometheus sculpture. The Prometheus statue is considered to be the fourth-most familiar statue in the United States. The Rockefeller Center is home to the historic Radio City Music Hall and the NBC Studios.
There are three guided tours available for those who wish to visit the Rockefeller Center, namely: the Rockefeller Center Tour, the NBC Studios Tour, and the Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour.
In the Rockefeller Center tour, visitors will have the chance to view the artwork featured in the Center by the artists Isamu Noguchi, Michio Ihara, Lee Lawrie, Paul Manship, Jose Maria Sert and Frank Brangwyn. Included in this tour is a stroll to the skating rink and the Channel Gardens. Visitors are also taught about the various flags displayed within the Center, as well as the history of the Center itself.
In the NBC Studios Tour, visitors get to learn the history of the NBC Studios as well as the different processes involved in the production of NBC’s many successful television programs like the Today Show, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, Saturday Night Live, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. This tour also features a glimpse inside the studios of these famous programs.
In the tour of the Radio City Music Hall, the visitors are given a glimpse into the historic past of what was then called the largest and the grandest theater in the world. The tour showcases the technology that made Radio City Music Hall a true gem in its time, as well as the fabulous interior design created in the European Modernist style by Donald Deskey.
Appreciation of artwork and tripping with history are not the only things that a visitor can do in the Rockefeller Center. He can go and enjoy a 360-degree view of the New York City skyline from Top of the Rock, an observation deck located on the 70th floor of the GE Building, formerly known as the RCA Building and nicknamed “30 Rock.” The Rockefeller Center is also a shopping and dining complex, so the visitor can go on a shopping spree to his or her heart’s content.
New York City Guide