Rainbow Room Atop Rockefeller Center Landmarked by City

By Mathew Katz on October 16, 2012 1:07pm 

MANHATTAN — City officials unanimously voted Tuesday to give landmark protection to the Rainbow Room, the old-fashioned supper club at the top of Rockefeller Center.

The dining room, originally completed in 1934, sits on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which was then known as the RCA Building. It's now the 115th building interior to be given landmark protection by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, joining spaces such as the lobbies of the Chrysler and Woolworth buildings.

The LPC said the luxe dining hall is a stunning example of Streamlined Modern design, with its double-height ceilings and 24-foot-high floor-to-ceiling windows providing an unparalleled view of the city skyline.

“The Rainbow Room came to epitomize New York City glamour,” said LPC chairman Robert B. Tierney in a statement.

“It retains not only many of its original characteristics, but also several generations’ worth of memories. I’d also like to thank the owners for their support of this important designation, and for their many years of fine stewardship of Rockefeller Center.”

The commission also pointed to the Rainbow Room's crystal chandeliers and wall sconces by Edward F. Caldwell & Co., along with nickel bronze railings, as historical features worthy of protection.

The space was originally commissioned shortly after Prohibition was repealed in 1934. It was designed by Associated Architects, which also worked on Rockefeller Center with help from Vincent Minnelli, a set designer at Radio City Music Hall, and decorated by Elena Bachman Schmidt.

When the Rainbow Room opened on Oct. 3, 1934, formal attire was a must and dinner cost about $3.50 per person. It was also used for private events, music performances and awards ceremonies.

The space is currently closed, but 30 Rockefeller Plaza's landlord, Tishman Speyer, plans to soon name a restaurateur to reopen it.

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