Normally, I would avoid Rockefeller Center the Saturday before Christmas at all costs, but this past Saturday I found my self only a block away and it was early enough in the morning to take some photos and avoid the large mobs. Rockefeller Center, whose nickname was “Radio City” back in the 1930’s was and is dominated by the enormous slab of the RCA Building (known as the GE Building since 1988, or 30 Rock, or the Top of the Rock). Noted architect, Raymond Hood (1881-1934), who was the model for the fictional Peter Keating in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, designed the 70 story, 842 foot building. The RCA Building is the home of NBC studios, the best observation deck in New York City (in my opinion) and the famed Rainbow Room restaurant.
The lobby is one of the best Deco spaces in New York City. Decorated with huge murals by Catalan artist Jose-Maria Sert (1874 – 1945), “American Progress” is the mural on the main wall of the lobby, which replaced Diego Rivera’s (1886 – 1957) controversial “Man at the Crossroads”. Rivera’s mural was destroyed at the order of Nelson Rockefeller before it’s completion in 1933. “Time” is the ceiling section of the mural.
Above the Rockefeller Plaza entrance are huge frosted glass windows and bass reliefs. The main relief designed by Lee Lawrie (1877 – 1963) was carved out of limestone and cast in glass. Known as “Wisdom”, the official title is “Genius, which interprets to the Human Race the Laws and Cycles of the Cosmic Forces of the Universe Making Cycles of Light and Sound”. I can understand why it was shortened to “Wisdom”.
I’ve always enjoyed spending time at Rockefeller Center, even if I don’t like crowds. It is one of the best Art Deco city spaces anywhere in the world.
Chris & Anthony (The Freakin’ Tiquen’ Guys)
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