Friday, July 22, 2011

Trip to USA - Rockefeller Center

Built by the Rockefeller family, Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89000 m2) between 48th and 51st streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

The centrepiece of Rockefeller Centre is 30 Rockefeller Centre, which is the GE building, also known as "30 Rock". The building is 70 floors high and the famous Rainbow Room (restaurant) is on the 65th floor. There is an observation deck spanning the 67-70 floors and from the 70th floor you can have a 360-degree view of the city.

We were wandering about for a long time looking for Rockefeller Center - we didn't realise that we were right in the middle of it. There is no sign that says this or that particular building is part of Rockefeller Center. Also, the thing about Manhattan, which is different from Singapore, is that the buildings rise straight up from the sidewalk. In Singapore, there is usually a setback from the path, or a compound surrounding the building. In Manhattan, you're walking right next to 70-storey buildings without realising it. 

30 Rock is the headquarters of NBC and houses most of the network's New York studios.

At the front of 30 Rock is a sunken plaza, where the bronze gilded statue of Prometheus is found. This plaza is turned into an ice-skating rink in winter. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is erected here every year.

In 1962, a plaque was placed at the plaza with a list of principles in which John D. Rockefeller Jr. believed. This is what it says:

I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.
I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master.
I believe in the Dignity of labour, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.
I believe that thrift is essential to well ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs.
I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order.
I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be as good as his bond; that character not wealth or power or position - is of supreme worth.
I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.
I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individuals highest fulfilment, greatest happiness, and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His Will.
I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.

At street level, the plaza has about 200 flagpoles. 

These are the Channel Gardens, opposite the plaza.

Along the Channel Gardens was this huge Lego store! Popped in and picked up Ryan's first Lego set (three sets, actually - they were on sale!).

Inside the store, there is a Lego replica of Rockefeller Center.

Darth Vader and a stormtrooper fighting on top one of the buildings

There is an underground Concourse which stretches from 47th to 51st street and from Fifth to Seventh Avenue. There are various shops in the Concourse, including restaurants and a post office.

We were pretty tired by then, so we had a quick dinner and went back to the hotel. We passed the famous Carnegie Hall on the way back but it didn't look too impressive from the outside. It probably looks very nice inside, but we didn't go in.


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