Rockefeller Center. Skyscraper in New York City, New York

Rockefeller Center

Skyscraper in New York City, New York

Rockefeller Center from Fifth Avnue Photo © Francis Wu

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Rockefeller Center

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	- Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center. Photo by David Giral
The Rockefeller Center is a building complex located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, which is a borough of New York City. The complex covers 22 acres and consists of no less than 19 buildings. This Art Deco landmark is situated between 48th and 51st Streets and between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.

Rockefeller Center is one of the most visited destinations in the city. It is the location of numerous events in New York City. The 23 meter tall Rockefeller Christmas Tree and the popular ice skating rink during the winter holiday season are what draws in most people throughout the year. The biggest event is the lighting of theChristmas tree, which takes place each year at the end of November. This event is witnessed by thousands of people and is even broadcasted on TV.

Rockefeller Center is a truly iconic landmark and has been featured in many Hollywood movie and is home to the NBC Studios and the legendary TV show, Saturday Night Live. Other TV shows that are taped there are The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, and the Today Show. The complex also includes iconic buildings such as the GE Building (RCA Building) and Radio City Music Hall. Visitors can go on tours of the complex and take a peek at the backstage of TV studios. Additional activities include climbing to the top of the Rock Observation Deck for truly breathtaking views of New York City. This is a good alternative if the waiting lines at the Empire State Building are too long. And in fact, the Rockefeller Center offers spectacular views of the Empire State Building, which, of course, isn't possible from the building itself. Other highlights in the Rockefeller Center are the Atlas Sculpture and beautiful Art Nouveau murals.

	Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center. Photo by unknown


Incredible clouds
	over the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree at sunset tonight. - Rockefeller Center
Incredible clouds over the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree at sunset tonight. - Rockefeller Center. Photo by Andrew Dallos
Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller Jr (Wikipedia Article). He was the son of the founder of Standard Oil and a vastly wealthy American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He leased the area from Columbia University in 1928 and started developing it two years later, in 1930. The original plan was to build an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera to revitalize the area. Even despite the crash of the stock market in 1929, construction continued. The entire complex was financed by Rockefeller himself. Some ongoing expenses were covered by the sale of some Standard Oil’s stocks. It was estimated that leasing the space, taking down existing buildings and constructing new ones cost about 250 million USD.

Construction of the 14 Art Deco office buildings commenced in 1930 and was completed in 1939. Building Rockefeller Center was the largest private building project in modern history. The entire project created jobs for 40,000 people, providing some much-needed employment during the Great Depression.

During the Second World War, the complex was the location of British Intelligence in the United States, British Security Coordination. One particular room played a big role; Room 3603 was the central point for allied intelligence and the office of what would later develop into the CIA. In the 1960s and 1970s, five other tower buildings were added to the complex.

The land underneath Rockefeller Center was bought from Columbia University by the Rockefeller Group for 400 million USD in 1985. The Mitsubishi Group purchased the entire complex and its owner, the Rockefeller Group, in 1989. In 2000, Tishman Speyer Properties and the Lester Crown Family bought the 14 older buildings for 1.85 billion USD. The newer buildings remained under Japanese ownership.

Nowadays the Rockefeller Center is a bustling place in the middle of Manhattan. It has restaurants, bars, stores, and shops, as well as plazas to relax outside. Some large stores that are located around one of the Rockefeller Center plazas are Christie’s, Swarovski, Coach, the LEGO Store, and Tumi.


The Rockefeller Center complex consists of the 14 original Art Deco buildings and five younger buildings.

The original buildings include One Rockefeller Plaza (the original Time-Life Building), Ten Rockefeller Plaza (home to the Today Show studios and Nintendo World Store), GE Building, Bank of America Building, and Radio City Music Hall, among several others. Radio City Music Hall is possibly the most famous place in Rockefeller Center. Opened in 1932, it was promoted as the world’s largest theater. For decades it was the location for movie premiers and impressive stage shows. Its stage is enormous and has hosted many award shows, world-famous artists, and many other events. More than 300 million people have visited Radio City Music Hall so far.

The newer buildings include the McGraw-Hill Building, Time-Life Building and Barclays Capital (the former Lehman Brothers Buildings).

Visiting Rockefeller Center

The most popular attractions at Rockefeller Center are the Christmas Tree and Ice Skating Rink (in winter), Radio City Music Hall and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Guided tours of Radio City Music Hall run every day from 10.00am to 5.00pm and offer a behind-the-scenes look at this legendary venue. Tickets cost $24 for adults, $18 for seniors and $17 for children 12 years old and younger.

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is opened each day from 8.00am until midnight. The last elevator up is at 11.00pm. The deck is located on the 70th, resembles a cruise ship's deck and offers fabulous views north across Central Park and south over Midtown Manhattan. Tickets start at $29 for adults, $27 for seniors and $18 for children between 6 and 12 years old. It is also possible to purchase combination tickets, combining the Top of the Rock, a Rockefeller Center Tour and/or admission to the Museum of Modern Art.

Similar Landmarks

There are a couple other world-famous buildings in New York City: the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. Other major landmarks in the city are Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Times Square.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Nov 06, 2014

Pictures of Rockefeller Center

American Flags in Rockefeller Center for Memorial Day - Rockefeller Center
American Flags in Rockefeller Center for Memorial Day - Photo by Andrew Dallos

Rockefeller Center, NYC - Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center, NYC - Photo by Jeffrey Zeldman


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