When non-New Yorkers think of New York City, they often picture world-renowned landmarks such as Madison Square Garden, Times Square, and the Theater District. East of Hell’s Kitchen and just a few blocks from Time’s Square, Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center is yet another one of the City’s famous destinations. Few New Yorkers actually live in Rockefeller Center, as most Midtown areas lack residential housing. However, those moving to surrounding neighborhoods (or any of the City’s five boroughs) should take advantage of all there is to discover in Rockefeller Center!
Rockefeller Center is made up of 19 commercial buildings in the borough of Manhattan, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues & 48thand 51stStreets. Fourteen original Art Deco buildings still exist between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in the district appointed by the famous Rockefeller family. The other five buildings that compose the area are “International Style”, and are west of Sixth Avenue.
Before the Rockefeller family commissioned Rockefeller Center, the area belonged to Columbia University. The university leased the site to John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1928— just three years prior to the beginning of the area’s construction in 1931. Today’s Rockefeller Center was originally supposed to be the site of a fresh Metropolitan Opera building. However, the Met couldn’t swing the budget to move the building to the intended site, and so the rest is history…
Every NYC local knows that come December, ‘tis the season for the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center! The tradition began in 1931, when construction workers who were employed to build the landmark erected a holiday tree that the locals took note of, and the tradition has been taking place ever since! Learn more about the “Secrets of the Rockefeller Christmas tree” here!
Other destinations to explore in Rockefeller Center include the observation deck at Top of the Rock, the iconic Rockefeller Center ice rink, and Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens! There’s also plenty of casual and fine dining to enjoy, as well as more than 100 one-of-a-kind shops offering everything from designer digs to NYC souvenirs!
This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit on Wednesday, November 29that Rockefeller Plaza! Be sure to check out this website for more information on the district of Rockefeller Center, including accessibility, attractions, and holiday events!