I’ve been going into New York City a lot of late. Here are a few pictures from one of my recent trips. I went to meet up with friends for a few drinks one evening. I decided to go in early so I could take a few pictures before we got together. These were taken in and around Rockefeller Center. For those who aren’t familiar with New York City:

Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The 14 original Art Deco buildings, commissioned by the Rockefeller family, span the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, split by a large sunken square and a private street called Rockefeller Plaza. Later additions include 75 Rockefeller Plaza across 51st Street at the north end of Rockefeller Plaza, and four International Style buildings located on the west side of Sixth Avenue.

In 1928, the site’s then-owner, Columbia University, leased the land to John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was the main person behind the complex’s construction. Originally envisioned as the site for a new Metropolitan Opera building, the current Rockefeller Center came about after the Met could not afford to move to the proposed new building. Various plans were discussed before the current one was approved in 1932. Construction of Rockefeller Center started in 1931, and the first buildings opened in 1933. The core of the complex was completed by 1939.

The original center has several sections. Radio City, along Sixth Avenue and centered on 30 Rockefeller Plaza, includes Radio City Music Hall and was built for RCA’s radio-related enterprises such as NBC. The International Complex along Fifth Avenue was built to house foreign-based tenants. The remainder of the original complex originally hosted printed media as well as Eastern Air Lines. While 600 Fifth Avenue is located at the southeast corner of the complex, it was built by private interests in the 1950s and was only acquired by the center in 1963.

Described as one of the greatest projects of the Great Depression era, Rockefeller Center was declared a New York City landmark in 1985 and a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is noted for the large quantities of art present in almost all of its Art Deco buildings, its expansive underground concourse, and its ice-skating rink. The complex is also famous for its annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. (Wikipedia)


30 Rockefeller Plaza is a skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Completed in 1933, the 66-story, 850 ft (260 m) building was designed in the Art Deco style by Raymond Hood, Rockefeller Center’s lead architect. 30 Rockefeller Center was formerly known as the RCA Building from its opening to 1988 and as the GE Building from 1988 to 2015. It was renamed the Comcast Building in 2015, following the transfer of ownership to new corporate owner Comcast. The building’s name is sometimes shortened to 30 Rock, a nickname that inspired an NBC sitcom of the same name.

The tallest structure in Rockefeller Center, the building is the 28th tallest in New York City and the 60th tallest in the United States. 30 Rockefeller Plaza houses the headquarters and New York studios of television network NBC; the Rainbow Room restaurant; and an observation deck called Top of the Rock. 30 Rockefeller Plaza also contains numerous artworks commissioned as part of the building’s construction.

30 Rockefeller Plaza was developed as part of the construction of Rockefeller Center. Work on the steel structure of the RCA Building started in March 1932. It opened in mid-1933 after a delay caused by a controversy over Man at the Crossroads, a painting by Diego Rivera that was removed from the RCA Building. Shortly after the RCA Building’s opening, there were plans to use the building above the 64th floor as a public “amusement center”, which became the Rainbow Room and Top of the Rock. 30 Rockefeller Plaza underwent a $170 million floor-by-floor interior renovation in 2014.” (Wikipedia).

I’ve only recently learned that the area between the two buildings in the foreground is called “The Channel Gardens”, apparently because one of the buildings houses ‘ La Maison Française” (literally “The French House” and the other the ” British Empire Building

Details of some of the art deco friezes

Atlas. Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan, American, born Germany. 1877 – 1963 , American. 1893 – 1955. 630 Fifth Avenue, Main entrance forecourt. Atlas is a successful collaboration between two talented artists, Lee Lawrie, who conceived the idea and designed the figure, and Rene Chambellan, who modeled the heroic-sized statue from his sketch. A famous figure from Greek mythology, Atlas was a half-man, half-god giant known as a Titan, who helped lead a war against the Olympic gods. After the Titans’ defeat, Atlas was condemned to carry the world on his shoulders as punishment. Atlas is one of Rockefeller Center’s greatest Art Deco icons and has even been used on U.S. postage stamps.

Two onlookers and a giant pumpkin by the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens.

One of the sculptures in the Channel Gardens.

Prometheus. Paul Manship, American. 1885 – 1966. Prometheus is said to be the best-known sculpture in Rockefeller Center and the most photographed monumental sculpture in all of NYC. Created by famed American sculptor Paul Manship, who held a great fascination for mythological subjects and events, it has become the main attraction of the Lower Plaza. Its central theme is best stated by the quote that’s carved in the red granite wall behind him, taken from the sixth-century B.C. Greek dramatist Aeschylus: “Prometheus, Teacher in Every Art, Brought the Fire That Hath Proved to Mortals a Means to Mighty Ends.”

Another Rockefeller Center sculpture

Saks Fifth Avenue:

“Saks opened a very large store in 1902 in New York City’s Herald Square on 34th Street and Broadway.[ Andrew Saks ran the New York store as a family affair with his brother Isadore, and his sons Horace and William. Andrew Saks died in 1912 and his son Horace took over the company’s management.

In 1923, Saks & Co. merged with Gimbel Brothers, Inc., which was owned by a cousin of Horace Saks, Bernard Gimbel, operating as a separate autonomous subsidiary. On September 15, 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened in the Saks Fifth Avenue Building at 611 Fifth Avenue, with a full-block avenue frontage south of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, facing what would become Rockefeller Center. The architects were Starrett & van Vleck, who developed a design derived from classical architecture.” (Wikipedia).

“The Fred F. French Building is a skyscraper at 551 Fifth Avenue on the northeast corner with 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by H. Douglas Ives along with John Sloan and T. Markoe Robertson of the firm Sloan & Robertson, it was erected in 1927. The building is named for Fred F. French, owner of the Fred F. French Companies, for whom the structure was commissioned.

The 38-story building is designed in the Art Deco style, with Middle Eastern influences, and contains numerous setbacks as mandated by the 1916 Zoning Resolution. The facade is mostly designed with brick walls and limestone trim. The base of the facade is ornamented with two bronze entrances and multiple mythological figures, while the top contains a “tower” with Mesopotamian style bas-reliefs and faience tiles. Other multicolored details such as ornamental friezes ornament the facade. The Middle Eastern design motifs are also used in the lobby, which contains a polychrome vaulted ceiling.” (Wikipedia).

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and a variety of Fuji XF and XC lenses.

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