Rockefeller Center: Liz Lemon Wuz Here! Sorta…

"Welcome to 30 Rock!"

“Welcome to 30 Rock!”

“Who’s that, a kicking it down the street?

Causing a stir?

Who’s that, I know that you’re wondering, that’s her!  

That’s her, that’s her, that’s her, that’s her!”  

Admit it, when you walk past 30 Rockefeller Plaza, you just can’t help but feel like sweet, yet odd Liz Lemon.  Whether you have a sandwich fetish, or not, that song from the pilot episode of NBC’s hit sitcom, 30 Rock just echoes beautifully through the part of your brain that controls TV themes (yes, I am aware that that song is not the theme of 30 Rock, so cool it blogosphere!).

But there is more to this famous part of New York City than NBC, ice skaters, and a giant Christmas Tree.  But I’ll get to those later.  In the heart of Manhattan, just a short walk east of Times Square, around the corner from Radio City Music Hall is a plaza brimming with tourists, commuters, shoppers, foodies, and NBC executives deciding if Community should go on hiatus, again!  Rockefeller Center consists of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st streets in New York City.  Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.  American tycoon, John D. Rockefeller, was going to build an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera on the site.  But the 1929 Stock Market Crash halted these plans.  However, Rockefeller solidered on, as he would personally finance the project with his own money.  It was the largest private building project ever undertaken in modern times.  Construction of the 14 buildings in the Art Deco style (without the original opera house proposal) began on May 17, 1930 and was completed in 1939.

The centerpiece of Rockefeller Center is the 70-story, 872-foot GE Building, better known as just “30 Rock”, formerly known as the RCA Building.  The building is the setting for the famous Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper photograph, taken by Charles C. Ebbets in 1932 of workers having lunch, sitting on a steel beam, without safety harnesses.  You probably recognize that iconic photo from every poster inside an Applebees or museum in the world.  The 840-foot drop lies below.  Don’t count on seeing Liz Lemon or Jack Donaghy walk out of 30 Rock.  Because they actually film in Queens!  Ha!  *high fiving a million angels!*

"Merry Christmas, 30 Rock!"

“Merry Christmas, 30 Rock!”

30 Rock Ice Capades

30 Rock Ice Capades

During the winter months, Rockefeller Center becomes both a tourist mecca as well as a place to celebrate the holidays.  The centerpiece of this is the world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  At the risk of sounding corny, it is one of the most magical places in the world to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.  Every year, shortly after Thanksgiving, a ceremonial tree-lighting is conducted which features famous music stars belting out your favorite Christmas carols, all culminating in a countdown to the tree lighting.  Yes, there may be a horde of tourists, and the days may be darker and colder, but in that split second that the lights come on, it is one of the many things about Christmas I look forward to every year.  Not to mention the hundreds of ice skaters and billowing flags around the plaza.

"Guess which country's flags are which?"

“Guess which country’s flags are which?”

During Easter, colorful topiary and giant eggs decorate the shrubbery around 30 Rock.  Although you can’t count on an impromptu Easter egg hunt on the plaza, it is hard to not love the rabbit motif and the newly potted flowers.

"Look Ma, No Paws!"

“Look Ma, No Paws!”

"Are you watching?  Are you watching?"

“Are you watching? Are you watching?”

A "bushy" tail!

A “bushy” tail!

During Saturday nights, expect to see a lot of tourists camped out for tickets to Saturday Night Live, which are taped in front of a live audience inside the GE Building, inside Studio 8H.  Unless you have a lot of money, or you happen to know someone in the cast of SNL, you may just have to wrestle your way past the security guards and Lorne Michaels to get in (Quick Disclaimer: DO NOT attempt to sneak into SNL).  During weekday mornings, you’ll see a horde of wacky tourists on the plaza outside The Today Show, clamoring for either attention, or the chance to shake hands with either Al Roker or Willard Scott.  Better yet, wave a bottle of white wine in front of Hoda and Kathy Lee during the fourth hour; don’t worry, Joel McHale said it was ok!

For shoppers, there’s the NBC Experience Store, in case you feel like picking up a mug or T-shirt with your favorite character.  For kids, there’s the LEGO store or the Nintendo World store.  Be sure to come early; lines tend to form out the door!

For subway service: take the B, D, F, M to 47th-50th Street-Rockefeller Center station.



About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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