Rockefeller Center

The first “city-within-a-city” designed in the world, site of New York’s Christmastime fun (where the tree and the ice rink live), and the headquarters for NBC Universal (and site of the Today Show), Rockefeller Center forms an important part of Midtown and is a tourist destination all year long.

The Rockefeller Center complex contains 19 buildings and covers 22 acres.  It was financed by the Rockefeller Family with the original intent to build a new Metropolitan Opera.  When the Great Depression hit, the focus of the project changed to a commercial development.  The centerpiece of Rockefeller Center is 30 Rockefeller Center (called 30 Rock), which is 872 feet tall and the headquarters of NBC.  This is also the site of the 30 Rock observation deck.  The Rainbow Room supper club is also in this building.  In front of 30 Rock is the square where ice skating is held in the winter.  30 Rock and most of the other buildings were designed by Raymond Hood in the art deco style.

Aside from the observation deck and shopping in and around the complex, the star attraction of the area is Radio City Music Hall.  This theater, which seats 6,000 is known for its dancing spectaculars, starring the Rockettes dancers.  The stage is known for having a stylized sunset.

Rockefeller Center, a complex built at the height of the Great Depression by one of New York’s most prominent families, helped renew Midtown Manhattan.  The area, long a center of media, also known for its modern art, leisure pursuits, and nearby shopping opportunities, continues to be a focal point near the center of the island that forms the center of the known world.  This complex can be seen on a Sights by Sam walking tour.