In the very center of Manhattan, Rockefeller Center is spread over an area of 22 acres – a system of 19 commercial buildings that make up the largest privately owned complex of its kind in the world. In 1987 it was declared a National Historical Monument.
According to watchtutorials, Rockefeller Center is located between 48th Street and 51st Street, in an area called Midtown. The beginnings of the construction of the Rockefeller Center date back to 1928, when John D. Rockefeller Junior began to build it. He was the son of John Davison Rockefeller, an American industrialist and philanthropist who revolutionized the oil industry and defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company, which he managed until his retirement. As gasoline prices rose, so did Rockefeller’s fortune. He eventually became the richest person in the world and the first American billionaire, often referred to as the richest person in the entire history of the country. His fortune is estimated at a whopping $200 billion in today’s currency. His son John was subsequently entrusted with the administration and supervision of the foundations.
Originally, the seat of the Metropolitan Opera was to be built on the site of today’s Rockefeller Center, but this plan failed due to the stock market crash. A year later, Rockefeller’s plan to build a commercial complex to house the fledgling radio and television industry was made public. The complex was built in the Art Deco style and is characterized by passageways, sub-level squares, gardens and outdoor sculptures. The area was originally named Radio City after the Radio Corporation of America, which was the first to move here. However, this name was soon replaced by today’s name.
Although Rockefeller Center has been imitated several times, its uniqueness has never been surpassed. It is without a doubt the most successful urban center ever built. Currently, the shareholder of this center is Mitsubishi.
Rockefeller Center consists of the Radio City Music Hall, GE Building, Center Art and several other buildings on Rockefeller Plaza (Rockefeller Square), Avenue of the Americas, Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue. It is home to many prestigious stores, publishing and media companies, including the NBC television station. It also offers many shopping and refreshment options, as a tourist you should definitely not miss its visit.
You should start your tour at Radio City Music Hall, which has the largest theater, film and music hall in the world. The hall can accommodate over 6,200 people, making it the largest in the country. The famous 36-member Rockettes dance troupe still performs here during Christmas and Easter performances. The best singers perform here throughout the year. An interesting feature is the organ here, which was made by the Wurlitzer company and is one of the largest in the world. The radio building is located on the border of the original complex, which was opened in 1940 and consisted of 14 buildings. The remaining five buildings on 5th Avenue were not added to the complex until after 1945.
The complex also includes the seventy-story General Electric (GE) Building on Rockefeller Plaza. It is home to the NBC television station and the daily live taping of the morning Today Show takes place outside. On the sixty-fifth floor of the building is the Rainbow Room restaurant and observation gallery. In the very heart of the entire Rockefeller complex lies a sub-level plaza lined with flags. It is a meeting place for people, the scene of many public events and entertainment. In the winter you can skate here and in the summer you can have lunch at the American Festival Café, which replaces the ice rink during the warm months. A promenade rises behind the ice rink, where the symbol of Christmas is placed every year – a huge Christmas tree, the lighting of which is one of the main events of the Christmas holidays. The tree reaches a height of up to 30 meters and is decorated with more than 35,000 lights. The lit Christmas tree can be seen until the first days of January. At Christmas, Rockefeller Center is one of the most visited places in New York.
The varied Channel Gardens, dominated by the gilded Prometheus Fountain, are a great place to relax. The gardens are full of flowers and interesting sculptures. Rockefeller Center owns many other buildings, including Center Art, which can be found on Rockefeller Plaza. A well-known landmark of Rockefeller Center is Atlas with a globe on his back.
Unique is the Rainbow Room restaurant on the square, which is especially valued for its revolving floor, cocktails and impressive view. Whatever the weather, you can explore the large number of shops and restaurants located in the lobby below the complex. Two historic streets, which are no longer part of the complex, but located in its immediate vicinity, are also worth a look. This is Swing Street, which was the world center of jazz in the 1930s. The other street is Diamond Row, whose name is derived from diamond cutters. They were mostly Jews who immigrated here from Europe when they were fleeing Nazism.
At 30 Rockefeller Plaza, you can go up to a viewpoint called Top of the Rock, from where you have a wonderful view of all of Manhattan, including the Empire State Building to the south and Central Park to the north. Thousands of visitors pass through Rockefeller Center every day, mostly for entertainment, but also for work.