Gettysburg Diorama

Gettysburg Diorama
The Gettysburg Diorama in Gettysburg showing the Battle in miniature.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Adventures in New York City Part 6- Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center was another one of those places we hoped to visit while in New York.

We ended up spending a good amount of time there.  In fact, we probably stopped by at some point on each day of our trip.

We went in one day to check out the shops and to see about tour tickets.  I did find some really cool postcards in one shop.  I asked the lady running the place if she ever saw any of the SNL cast come by.  She mentioned that Fred Armisen has been in several times.  She said that he was always very friendly and nice.  I told her I was glad to hear that because I really like him.

We went to get tickets for "Top of the Rock"- access to Rockefeller Center's observation deck area.  On the day we asked about tickets, we were told that there was 0 visibility, so they weren't selling tickets at that moment, though they oddly offered to sell us tickets for the next day.  We did come back on a different day and we were able to make it to the top (more on that later).

Rockefeller Center is one of those buildings that everyone knows, and you realize the moment you see it that you have seen it many times before.  It reminded me of the first time I saw the Capitol in DC, and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.  The place is so iconic.

AND there are several spots that you recognize pretty immediately.  The ice skating rink area is something we are all familiar with....  the very front of the building, and the statue of Atlas all seemed so familiar.

We actually took a tour of the building (mostly outside and in lobbies) with a tour guide named Pete.  Pete was full of energy, and must have snorted Red Bull before the tour.  He was awesome and knew everything about 30 Rockefeller, it's history, and a lot of the history associated with the building and the area.

This was one of those, "what the heck" kind of tours, it looked like it might be somewhat interesting, and it ended up being a real high point of our trip.

Pete mentioned that some of the actors have interrupted his tours to try out material (unfortunately this did not happen to us).  He mentioned Jimmy Fallon doing this a week or two before our tour.

Anyway, a big focus of the tour was on art.  Much of the art on and around the building had a theme of getting information to people through TV and radio.  Pete explained some of the imagery, telling us about the artists, and what the Rockefeller's wanted to communicate and do with their building.  With Pete's enthusiasm as he described the truly epic art work, I felt that the art was coming through in an almost spiritual level.  Sure, this tour was entertaining, but it was also very deep.


I cannot express how exciting it was to view the Josep Maria Sert work "American Progress" which pleasantly overwhelms anyone entering the building through the main entrance.  Painted giants appear to be standing on the physical columns in the lobby, dealing with elements of the future and the past.  This is such a spectacular piece, I would love to see it exploited more.  Prints and postcards showing scenes from this work should be readily available in the gift shop!

I could go on and on about the art here.  Like I said, we figured this might be an OK tour, but with our guide Pete, the tour was over the top amazing.

There is a Lego store nearby that had several of the Rockefeller Center icons immortalized in Lego.  We thought that was cool.  Plus, who doesn't love Legos?

One morning, we relaxed and watched ice skaters through a window while inside of Rockefeller.

I will get some more photos up from our "Top of the Rock" experience in the next few days.....











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