The GE Building at Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center. GE Building in Cengter

The fame that is associated with this Midtown Manhattan art deco skyscraper is inspiring. It was completed in 1933, as part of a larger complex called Rockefeller Center, with ‘30 Rock’ as its centerpiece, and one large centerpiece it is.

Originally named the RCA Building, after its main tenant occupied it, the Radio Corporation of America, which was established in 1919 by General Electric Corporation. (The building was later taken over by GE in 1988). Then in 2015, the building again was renamed the Comcast Building.

The office of the Rockefeller family occupied Room 5600 on the 56th floor. This space is now occupied by Rockefeller Family & Associates, spanning between the 54th floor and the 56th floor of the building. John D. Rockefeller had a private vault in the basement of the building, accessible via a private elevator from his office.

The structure is made of steel frame with limestone cladding with 9,382,728 sq feet of office space. It is 850 feet, 70 stories high and contains the Top of the Rock observation deck. Five floors below is the famed Rainbow Room restaurant.

The fame continued beyond that of the observatory and restaurant, as it was and is used by the TV and motion picture industry. Starting with NBC Studios, located in the upper floors and hosts, among other celebrated TV shows, the ‘30 Rock’ sitcom and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. NBC gives daily tours of its studios. If it was not already obvious, 30 Rockefeller Center is the headquarters for the NBC television network and Comcast plans on constructing a 10-foot tall, LED sign with the NBC logo at the top of the building.

29 Sep 1932 --- Construction workers eat their lunches atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
29 Sep 1932 — Construction workers eat their lunches atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Famous also is the popular ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ photo of Irish steel workers sitting on a girder, 840 feet high, having lunch with no support whatsoever, as the building was being constructed in 1932. The Great Depression brought people to take any paying jobs even with the dangers that prevailed; however, these guys seem to be pretty comfortable as they bite into their sandwiches. The photographer is unknown, however, it is generally attributed to Charles C. Ebbets.

In front of the main entrance to 30 Rockefeller Center is the ice skating rink, along with touristy restaurants that are adjacent to it on each side. In the winter, thousands come to see the center lit up and watch the lighting of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

After 9/11, the two block street that crossed 30 Rock was sectioned off and made into a public promenade.

Not to be undone is Radio City Music Hall, as part of the Rockefeller complex. Home to the Rockettes, the Radio CIty Christmas Show and America’s Got Talent, to name a few.

For anyone visiting NYC or for those who live in NYC, it should definitely be on your bucket list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *