Petit Futé's opinion on ROCKEFELLER CENTER
This huge complex of nineteen buildings exerts a great attraction on the whole of Midtown. Built between 1930 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller Jr., the son of the oil businessman, this town within the city is dominated by the RCA Building, recognisable by its height: 67 levels, with the observation post Top of the Rock as an appendix - on the 70th floor - that competes against the Empire State Building. At its design, the building would accomodate the New York Opera, but the stock market crash in 1929 was right from the ambitions of John D. Rockfeller Jr. who could not attract the Metropolitan Opera in his new skyscrapers. More than 40,000 workers have worked for ten years at the construction of the building complex. A contreversy broke out in the middle of 1930s when German manufacturers tried to buy four skyscrapers and called them Deutsches Haus. Faced with the rising of the Nazi German in Europe, Rockfeller Jr. refused to sell the buildings to German interests. Empty, the space have been finally occupied during the Second World War by the English secret services and by the CIA, which organised since the Rockfeller Center the resistance operations of the Alliés. Now, the Rockefeller Center hosts cafés and offices, banks, news agencies (Associated Press), bookstores, shops (the Lego shop), television studios (NBC)... Moreover, every morning, the Today Show (the equivalent of Télématin) is partly shot outside in front of the Rockefeller. It is also in the Rockefeller Center that the Tonight Show of Jimmy Fallon and the famous sketch emission, Saturday Night Live are shot. The basements which lead to the subway through a labyrinth of hallways and shops are not less surprising. No matter how long you will stay, you will not miss passing by this building fortress, symbol of a myth, located in the centre of the richest sector of Midtown, between the MoMA, the Waldorf-Astoria hotel and the Saint-Patrick cathedral. Among the sculptures that surround the centre, the most spectacular is that of Atlas supportant le monde (in front of the 630 5th Avenue), even if the gilded statue of Prometheus in front of its water jets is counted as the one of the most well-known sculptures in the United States. There are also some very nice low reliefs such as News, of Isamu Noguchi (above the entrance of 50 Rockefeller Plaza), or the very Art deco Wisdom, of Lee Lawrie, that adorns the entrance of GE Building. In winter, the skating rink (The Rink At Rockfeller Center) and the huge Christmas tree adorn the magic site. Always splendid and refined, the decor of the Promenade is renewed every two months: tree and lace angels at Christmas, palm trees and sand in summer, exhibition of sculptures in spring (Rodin)...
Rockfeller Center Tower. You can visit Rockefeller Center by yourself of course, but it is better to take a guided tour that will allow you to better know the history of one of the New York skyline's pillars. Take this opportunity to discover how John D. Rockefeller got inspired to create one of the most famous buildings in the world. Experienced guides will take you on a journey that will reveal the secrets of architecture, the design and the art of this town within a city.
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Opening time and information on ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Open 7 days a week. The excursions are organized avery half an hour from 10am (no departure at 6pm and at 6.30pm). Flat rate of the ticket US$17.
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