Rockefeller Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
Lower Plaza at Rockefeller Center.
Lower Plaza at Rockefeller Center.
Atlas Statue at Rockefeller Center.
Atlas Statue at Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings between 48th and 51st street in New York. It is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, straddling both Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.

Today's Rockefeller Center is essentially a combination of two building complexes: the older Art Deco office buildings from the 1930s and a set of four International-style towers built along the Avenue of the Americas during the 1960s and 1970s. (The Time & Life Building and the News Corporation/Fox News Channel headquarters are part of the "newer" Rockefeller Center buildings.)

Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller Jr. who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928 and developed it between 1929 and 1940. Rockefeller initially planned to build an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera Company on the site, but changed his mind after the stock market crash of 1929, and withdrawal of the Met from the project. Construction of buildings in the Art Deco style began in 1931. Principal architect for the complex was Raymond Hood, working with a team that included a young Wallace Harrison.

The nation's largest indoor theater, Radio City Music Hall, is located in the Rockefeller Center complex. One of the complex's first tenants was the Radio Corporation of America, hence the names "Radio City" and "Radio City Music Hall."

The centerpiece of Rockefeller Center is the 71-floor, 872-foot GE Building (formerly known as the RCA Building), centered behind the sunken plaza. It was renamed in the 1980s after General Electric (GE) re-acquired RCA, which it helped found in 1919. The skyscraper is the headquarters of NBC and houses most of the network's New York studios, including the legendary Studio 8H, home of Saturday Night Live. Unlike most other Art Deco towers built during the 1930s, the GE Building was constructed as a slab with a flat roof, where the Center's observation deck, Top of the Rock, is loctaed. The entire Rockefeller Center complex was purchased by a Mitsubishi subsidiary in 1989. Ten years later, Tishman-Speyer purchased the original Art Deco buildings from Mitsubishi.

Among other public art in the complex, Paul Manship's highly recognizable gilded statue of Prometheus recumbent, bringing fire to mankind, features prominently. It stands above a below-level plaza which is used as an ice-skating rink during winter. Sculptor Lee Lawrie contributed a number of friezes and the statue of Altas. Mexican socialist artist Diego Rivera had been commissioned to create a mural for the center, but Man at the Crossroads was removed soon after completion because it contained a portrait of Lenin.

Writer and New York Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent wrote "Great Fortune : The Epic of Rockefeller Center" in 2003.


See also

External link

Personal tools