Seeing New York from Atop the Rock

Rockefeller Center reopens its observation deck, closed since 1986, with an opulent $75 million renovation. The views are still breathtaking

When it debuted in the midst of the Great Depression, the observation deck of 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City was a symbol of modern American progress, the pinnacle of developer John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s inspired urban complex that wed art, architecture, and commerce. Evoking an Art Deco luxury liner, the observatory was outfitted with lawn chairs, umbrellas, and gooseneck fixtures to welcome fashionable visitors who gathered to admire each other and the cityscape below. The original grandeur was sadly lost when the viewing platforms were closed in 1986 for the renovation of the Rainbow Room. Now, after a $75 million renovation and expansion by architect Gabellini Sheppard Associates, the renamed Top of the Rock is a reinvented destination for a new generation of visitors.

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