Rockefeller Center History:
After the stock market crash of 1929, John D. Rockefeller Jr. abandoned plans to build a new opera house in favor of a group of office towers, elegant shops, and theaters, surrounding a sunken plaza that becomes an outdoor restaurant in summer and an ice skating rink in winter. He commissioned many murals and works of sculpture including a massive figure of Atlas at the entrance to 630 Fifth Ave and the majestic Prometheus statue delivering fire to mankind. A restaurant called the Rainbow Room opened in 1934 and became one of the most glamorous in the city.
Radio City Music Hall, the largest and most famous theater in the United States opened in 1932 with an opulent art deco interior that has 5874 seats. The theater offered programs combining feature films with stage shows, a format that remained popular for almost 50 years. The best-known entertainers associated with Radio City Music Hall are the Rockettes, a team of 36 long-legged dancers who first appeared in 1933 and soon became synonymous with the theater’s reputation as the “Showplace of the Nation.”
Location: Complex of 19 commercial buildings in midtown Manhattan, on a site bounded by 52nd St, Fifth Ave, 49th St, and 7th Ave.
Telephone: 1 (212) 664-3700
Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7, M27, M50, and Q32,
Subway:(Click a subway line icon for more attractions along selected route)
Admission: Free to public areas. Guided tour prices listed below.
Hours: Open daily year-round. Guided tour hours listed below.
Tours depart from the NBC Experience store, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 49th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. (212) 664-7174. Daily 10am-4pm on the hour. $10, seniors and children 6-16 $8.
A one-hour guided tour of the 14 building Rockefeller Center complex. Headphones let you hear your guide without constantly jockeying for a spot up front next to your guide. You’ll see the Channel Gardens, Today show studios, Radio City Music Hall, sunken plaza/skating rink (depending on the time of year), Atlas, and Prometheus statues.
The Radio City Stage Door Tour is a fascinating one-hour walking tour behind the scenes of Radio City Music Hall. You’ll meet one of the world-famous Rockettes, the most celebrated precision dance company. You’ll explore the beautiful art-deco interiors, masterfully restored to the original 1932 grandeur. Learn the secrets of the Great Stage, where lavish theatrical productions, concerts and award shows are performed. Tours leave every half hour. 10am-5pm, Mon-Sat / 11am-5pm Sun. Tickets available at the Radio City Avenue Store, Madison Square Garden Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (212) 307-7171. Special rates available for groups of 25 or more. Contact the Radio City Group Sales Dept. (212) 465-6100.
The NBC Studio Tour in the GE Building provides a behind the scenes look at some highly rated NBC shows and a 75-year history of the network. Visitors will get the chance to see up to three working studios (not necessarily during taping). Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Dateline NBC, Saturday Night Live, Later Today and the NBC Nightly News all tape in the GE Building.
Visitors start the NBC Studio Tour at the NBC Experience, a museum and interactive attraction that will allow you to sit down and be interviewed by a taped version of Jay Leno. Using bluescreen technology, visitors can take the chair on the Tonight Show with Jay or Conan O’Brien. You can even buy a tape of your “interview” for a memento. For weather fans, visitors can hop in front of the national map with a virtual Al Roker to give the days forecast. NBC Photoshoot allows you to take a photograph of yourself on a virtual set of your favorite NBC show. You can choose from either the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, TODAY, Late Night with Conan O’Brien or Saturday Night Live.
Bob Costas Sports Trivia Exhibit will allow you to match your knowledge of football, baseball and basketball against the well-known NBC sports broadcaster. A television control room built especially for tourists shows how shows are produced and controlled during broadcast.
For early risers who love the TODAY Show, the show is taped each weekday from 7 to 9 a.m. Visitors can wait outside the studios during the broadcast for a glimpse of Meredith Vieira or get a quick interview with Al Roker. Visitors need to remember that NBC Studio Tours are within a working television production environment which could result in daily changes to the tours.
NBC is located in Rockefeller Center near the Radio City Music Hall. The NBC Studio Tour starts at the corner of Rockefeller Plaza and 49th Street. Tours are held from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday tours of the NBC studios are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. NBC Studio Tours tickets are: adults, $17.50; seniors and children from age six to 16, $15. Groups of four people or more get a $15 tour rate regardless of age. NBC Studio Tours doesn’t allow children under the age of six. For more information about the NBC Studio Tour and the NBC Experience attraction, call 212-664-3700.
Take the NBC Tour and the Rockefeller Tour together and save $6.50 on the combo ticket price.
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock observation deck atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza (the General Electric Building) has reopened after a $75 million revamping. Visitors will know in advance what time they will be admitted. Their few minutes of waiting can be spent viewing exhibits that trace the history and construction of the center. Express elevators now feature glass ceilings so visitors can watch the ascent along illuminated shafts to the 67th floor, where they will find indoor observation areas. Escalators will take them higher yet, to outdoor terraces on the 69th floor, shielded from the wind by new eight-and-a-half-foot-high glass barriers. The 70th-floor summit, 850 feet above the street, is completely open to the elements, commanding a 360-degree perspective. You can purchase your tickets today by clicking here!
Nearby Places of Interest:
1. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
2. Museum of Modern Art
3. Fifth Avenue shops
4. Museum of Television and Radio
5. Times Square/Theater District
6. Central Park
7. Diamond District
Advisory: Allow a minimum of 2 hours, longer if you take tours. Restaurants range from coffee shops to the elegant Rainbow Room atop the GE building. You’ll also find Christie’s Auction House, Associated Press, Pokemon Center NYC, Post Office, and dozens of shops on the Concourse Level (below street level).