30 Rock opens new rooftop ride ‘The Beam’ recreating iconic construction photo

December 1, 2023

Visitors enjoy Rockefeller Center’s new interactive experience “The Beam” at Top of the Rock Observation Deck on the 69th floor. Photo credit: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

The observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is taking visitors to new heights. On Friday, the Top of the Rock debuted The Beam, a new rooftop ride on the 69th floor that recreates the iconic 1932 photo of ironworkers eating lunch on a beam during the construction of the building. During the experience, visitors sit on a beam and are lifted 12 feet above the platform then rotated 180 degrees to face Central Park. Tickets to The Beam cost $25 per person as an add-on for Top of the Rock general admission and come with a digital photo.

“Lunch atop a Skyscraper” photo taken in 1932. Courtesy of Tishman Speyer
Photo credit: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

The ride is a nod to the 1932 photo “Lunch atop a Skyscraper,” which depicts 11 ironworkers sitting on a steel beam during a lunch break. The staged photograph, used for publicity during the construction of 30 Rock (then known as the RCA Building), is one of the most recognizable photos in the world, even though the identities of the construction workers remain largely unknown.

Nearly a century later, the beam returns to Rockefeller Center, allowing visitors to recreate the iconic image and take in skyline and Central Park views at 800 feet in the air.

The Beam is not the only new attraction planned for Top of the Rock. Coming to the 70th floor next year, the “Sky Lift” is a circular glass platform that will bring visitors above the rooftop for 360-degree views. This level also includes a rooftop beacon, a kinetic globe that will be programmed to change with the arrival of guests.

Changes to the mezzanine level will include an updated lobby, new interactive exhibits, a new theater experience, and more.

Rendering courtesy of Tishman Speyer

Tishman Speyer Properties first presented plans for the Top the Rock to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in September 2021 and received approval the following spring.

As 6sqft previously reported, the rooftop of 30 Rock was always meant to be whimsical. When the building was built 90 years ago, the upper level was meant to recreate the experience of being on the deck of a cruise liner; it even had a beacon designed to be seen from far away.


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  1. C

    There’s no access to buy tickets for the beam ride. I’ve tried to buy a ticket on rockefeller website for the past five days in no success.
    They won’t call you back. They won’t reply to emails. You call the number of nobody replies or answer the phone. And then they said press 1 for a call back and then never happens

  2. J

    Thank you for sharing this exciting news about 30 Rock’s innovative addition, ‘The Beam’! Recreating the iconic construction photo on a rooftop ride is a brilliant concept. It’s not just a ride; it’s a nostalgic journey through NYC history. Appreciate the insight, and can’t wait to experience the thrill while reliving a piece of the city’s iconic past. Thanks for keeping us informed on these exhilarating developments! https://okconstructioncorp.com/