Sometimes it seems that the usual terms you read in an article on sightseeing are “must see” and “something for every member of the family”.
But if you are in New York City, the Rockefeller Center is true to both of those terms. The Rockefeller Center covers 22 acre in midtown Manhattan and is a complex of 19 buildings, an underground retail complex and of course the famous skating rink. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
Known as the “City in a city”, Rockefeller Center is an exceptional example of Art Deco design and is connected by way of an underground concourse known as the Catacombs.
Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who leased the area from Columbia University in 1928. The original plan was to build the Metropolitan Opera house, but due to the crash of 1929 it didn’t happen. Rockefeller then decided to develop the area himself and it remains the largest private building development of modern times. The initial costs were an unbelievable $250 million – more than an astounding amount for 1930 right in the middle of the Great Depression!
Radio City Music Hall
Originally called the RCA building, it served as the headquarters of the Radio Corporation of America until it was renamed the GE building. It is the tallest building in the complex and has an observation deck called Top of the Rock. Here you can enjoy a 360’ view of New York City, a photographer’s delight.
This is the location of the famous annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Since 1933 it has been the unofficial start of New York's holiday season with an enormous tree. If you are visiting New York City during the winter, here is where the popular outdoor ice skating rink is located.
Rockefeller Center is also known for the many works of art that are throughout the complex. Art lovers will want to take a guided tour to take an opportunity to view the spectacular Art Deco interiors, majestic murals and statues.
Shopping in the Concourse
This is series of shops and restaurants in underground pedestrain passages stretches from 47th Street to 51st Street, and from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue. The concourse is easily accessed through the 47-50th street subway stations.
At the plaza level, there are 200 flagpoles. During US holidays, every flagpole proudly has a US flag flying and during other times of year you can see state flags, United Nation member flags and sometimes seasonal flags.
This is only a partial listing of the many things to see in the Rockefeller Center, but you probably already recognize that there is "something for everyone" in this "must see" attractions.