For more than 100 years, Rockefeller Center has served as one of New York City’s main tourist attractions. During the Great Depression, John D. Rockefeller Jr. built Rockefeller Center. His aim was to develop a “city within a city” and he ended up creating one of NYC’s most recognizable landmarks. Follow the timeline to discover the history of Rockefeller Center and how it became a historic travel attraction.
“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” the iconic photograph of construction workers eating lunch on a beam of a skyscraper in the New York City sky, was shot during the construction of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
In 1933, during some of the worst years in the Great Depression, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, otherwise known as “30 Rock”, was opened. In 1933, the home of NBC Radio City Studios, Radio City Music Hall opened its doors as well. In addition to a music hall, Radio City acted as a theater and has premiered more than 700 movies to date including: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, White Christmas, Mary Poppins, Lion King, and more.
Radio City and Rockefeller Center are home to many traditions. In 1933, the Christmas Spectacular, which features the notorious Rockettes and their can-can kicks, opened and has since become a New York City institution.
Two years prior to the Christmas Spectacular debut, the legendary holiday Christmas tree
1933tradition began when construction workers pooled their money together during the Great Depression to purchase a 20-foot tree that they decorated with handmade garland. Today, the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is described as a “worldwide symbol of Christmas” and attracts more than 125 million people each year.
The famous Rink at Rockefeller Center was introduced in 1936 to New York City and has been a tradition ever since. Today, the ice skating rink in the middle of Rockefeller Center is an American icon for the holiday season. Visitors can enjoy private ice skating lessons, a VIP Igloo outing, or even a private wedding engagement on ice.
Post-World War II brought a boom in the television market. In 1952, NBC premiered the classic morning news show, Today, which is filmed every morning at 30 Rock.
In recent years, Rockefeller Center has become a historic tourist attraction, because of its famous traditions and television shows like 30 Rock featuring Tina Fey and the Today show that uses Rockefeller Center as its backdrop. Today, Rockefeller Center is a must-see attraction while visiting New York City – especially in the winter. Visitors can enjoy the observation deck called Top of the Rock or take a tour through Radio City Music Hall.
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