30 Facts About Rockefeller Center


Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

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Originally envisioned as the site for a new Metropolitan Opera building, the current Rockefeller Center came about after the Met could not afford to move to the proposed new building.

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Construction of Rockefeller Center started in 1931, and the first buildings opened in 1933.

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Radio City, along Sixth Avenue and centered on 30 Rockefeller Plaza, includes Radio City Music Hall and was built for RCA's radio-related enterprises such as NBC.

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Rockefeller Center hired Todd, Robertson and Todd as design consultants to determine its viability.

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The final small building would have been rented by Germany, but Rockefeller Center ruled this out in 1934 after noticing National Socialist extremism from the country's government.

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The Rockefeller Center family started occupying the 56th floor of the RCA Building, though the offices would later expand to the 54th and 55th floors as well.

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Rockefeller Center only became profitable after the last building in the original complex was completed.

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Rockefeller Center was popular among visitors: for instance, the lines to enter one of the Music Hall's five daily shows stretched from Sixth Avenue and 50th Street to Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street, a distance of four blocks.

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Rockefeller Center eventually became the family's "single largest repository" of wealth.

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In 1950, Rockefeller Center Inc paid the last installment of the $65 million mortgage owed to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

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Rockefeller Center Inc had started working on plans to expand the complex during World War II, even though the outbreak of the war had stopped almost all civilian construction projects.

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Rockefeller Center unveiled plans for expansion to the southwest and north in 1944.

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Small Rockefeller Center Theatre was deemed redundant to the Radio City Music Hall, and in its final years, had been used as an NBC and RCA broadcasting space.

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Time Inc and Rockefeller Center formed a joint venture, Rock-Time Inc, which would share the tower's rent income between Time Inc and Rockefeller Center.

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New York Times report in 1982 stated that Rockefeller Center had been popular among tenants from its inception, being almost fully rented for much of the first half-century of its existence.

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However, Rockefeller Center was not popular as an entertainment complex, having been used for mainly commercial purposes through its history.

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Rockefeller Center Group filed for bankruptcy protection in May 1995 after missing several mortgage payments.

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The Rockefeller Center family moved out of their offices in the GE Building in 2014 due to rising rents.

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The only building in the Rockefeller Center built to the outer limits of its lot line, the 15-story building took its shape from Associated Press's need for a single, undivided, loft-like newsroom as large as the lot could accommodate—namely, a 200-by-187-foot blocky structure with no setbacks.

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Rockefeller Center's beliefs include "the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and "truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order" .

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Rockefeller Center Plaza is a pedestrian street running through the complex, parallel to Fifth and Sixth avenues.

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Since Rockefeller Center Plaza is technically a purely private property to which the public is welcome, the plaza is closed for part of one day every year.

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Gardens atop Rockefeller Center's roofs were designed by Ralph Hancock and Raymond Hood.

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Isamu Noguchi's gleaming stainless steel bas-relief, News, over the main entrance to 50 Rockefeller Center Plaza was, at the time of commissioning, the largest metal bas-relief in the world.

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Rockefeller Center called the plan for Rockefeller Center "an apotheosis of megalomania, a defiant egotism" arising from an ostentatious display of wealth, and said that "the sooner we accomplish the destiny it so perfectly foreshadows, the sooner we shall be able to clear the ground and begin again".

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Urban planner Le Corbusier had a more optimistic view of the complex, expressing that Rockefeller Center was "rational, logically conceived, biologically normal, [and] harmonious".

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The writer Frederick Lewis Allen took a more moderate viewpoint, saying that negative critics had "hoped for too much" precisely because Rockefeller Center had been planned during an economically prosperous time, but was constructed during the Depression.

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Sigfried Giedion wrote in his book Space, Time and Architecture that Rockefeller Center's design was akin to a "civic center" whose design represented the 1930s version of the future.

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Haskell wrote in 1966 that Rockefeller Center's designers "seemed to have regarded urban life as an enhanceable romance".

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