NYC – Rockefeller Center – Art Deco

A visit to Rockefeller Center––a city within a city––is a must. New York’s most important urban complex of the twentieth century, the Center was built between 1931 and 1939. Rockefeller Center extends from 48th to 51st Street, and from Fifth to Sixth Avenue.

The promenade separating the British and French buildings

The Fifth Avenue frontage is a show case for the cause of international understanding–hence the International Building, the Maison Française, the British Empire Building, the Palazzo d’Italia––and the Channel Gardens (named for the English Channel separating France and England), between the French and British buildings, lined with fall foliage and statuary

Seeds of Good Citizenship
Above Channel Gardens Entrance of La Maison Francaise
Winged Mercury -Above Channel Gardens Entrance of 620 Fifth Avenue

Rockefeller Center epitomizes the Machine Age––building materials like aluminum and stainless steel, parking facilities for cars and trucks, high speed elevators, air cooling, noise silencers and escalators. There is so much to see both inside and outside but I thought it would be nice to feature a few of the works that are on the outside of the buildings.

I placed the street location or reference point on each photo.

PROGRESS
Above 49th Street entrance.
CORNUCOPIA OF PLENTY
10 West 51st Street
THE JOY OF LIFE
Above 48th Street entrance

What is Art Deco?

Although the question seems simple, historians have not been able to agree upon a single, definitive answer. The time period, aesthetic principles, motifs, and just about everything else that typically defines a style or movement, are all open to interpretation when it comes to defining Art Deco.

NEWS
Above 50 Rockefeller Plaza main entrance.
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI WITH BIRDS
Above 9 West 50th Street entrance of 630 Fifth Avenue

I thought I would include something you might miss when going to or walking past Radio City Music Hall.

Dance, Drama, and Song

These three large stylized decorative plaques, placed high up on the south façade of Radio City Music Hall.

Two of the six playful plaques under the marquee at the front entrance.

A couple of observations as of this publication date.

  • Overall, New York City is less crowded.
  • Check ahead to see if places you want to visit will be open.
  • Public bathrooms are even fewer that usual.
  • There is a bathroom in the main building at Rockefeller center.

NYC – Gotham – Superman – The Daily News Building

Once the home of  Superman and a Vintage Globe – The Daily News

I suppose not many people go east of the Chrysler Building on east 42nd Street but those who do, will enjoy one of the city’s most historic Art Deco structures. The Daily News Building.

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This was the home of America’s first tabloid newspaper, the illustrious Daily News, until 1995. The outside of the building is exceptional enough on its own; a giant mural carved above the entrance in the Art Deco style depicts working Manhattanites under an illuminated sky.

 

But on walking into the building, you will  find a  spectacular architectural sight: a vintage globe that nearly dwarfs onlookers. IMG_1697 The globe is 12 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. It makes a full rotation every ten minutes, moving
144 times faster than the actual planet.12276380584_3f43e2dbfb_o

 

But it gets even better. Above the globe, an enormous rotunda made of faceted black glass extends upward, intended to depict outer space:

 

 

The giant globe was featured as part of the fictional Daily Planet in Richard Donner’s Superman films. The lobby still shows photographs of Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane at work in the hectic newspaper offices.

902_superman
I added the Superman image

 

Accompanying the massive model are brass meteorological instruments giving the day’s rainfall, wind velocity, and atmospheric pressure, ornate clocks give the time in far-flung destinations such as Panama, Casablanca, Belgrade, and Berlin.IMG_1716

Inscribed on the floor surrounding the globe are the distances to such exotic locales as Cairo, Gibraltar, and the North Pole, suggesting to visitors not already bowled over by the remarkable lobby that New York was indeed the center of the world.

 

Also on display in the lobby is this gorgeous time zone clock, which features New York City time in the center…. surrounded by 16 miniature clock faces depicting time throughout the world.

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Finally, as you exit the building, be sure to look up……where you’ll see a gorgeous period clock overhead.

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And best of all, walking through the doors is like traveling back in time to the 1930s.

NYC – Art Deco on 42nd Street

The Regal E Walk 13 Theater, 42nd Street

 

This Blog started out to show some pictures of buildings in and around West  42ndStreet.

 However, I went to a movie at the above theater and was fascinated by its interior, replete with retro-Art Deco style touches, murals, and enough neon to illuminate 50 pizza parlors.

Note: The above photos were taken with my Iphone4.

Some related History

 The Regal is a symbol of the ‘new’ Times Square (built roughly on the same site of a definitive symbol of the old Times Square – the former 24-hour porn grindhouse, the Harem Theatre) But in-between now and then it was called Loews 42nd Street E-Walk. In 2006 it was sold to the Regal Entertainment Group and opened its doors on November 12, 1999.

  Many younger people may not know that 42nd Street was once known for its burlesque and sex shows. Somewhere around the middle seventies,a movement was started to clean up 42nd street and Times Square, many of the burlesque shows were closed and new buildings started to be erected. Today, Times Square and the streets surrounding it have become more family friendly. (However, There are still a few “peep” shows in the area).

Photos -below – from Google