30 Rock’s new ‘skylift’ observation platform and rooftop ride approved by Landmarks

April 26, 2022

All renderings courtesy of Tishman Speyer

A popular New York City observation deck will soon offer a new point of view. The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved plans for several upgrades to the Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, including a rotating ride, a rooftop beacon, and a new “skylift” viewing platform that takes visitors above the 70th floor and offers uninterrupted 360-degree views.

“This is one of our most important landmarks,” LPC Commissioner Sarah Carroll said about 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the Top of the Rock, adding it attracts residents and visitors to the area, as well as encourages businesses to open.

Carroll also said the new experiences could help boost tourism. “I think allowing for new circulation and these activities on the roof will even help support the recovery of the city.”

The plan from Tishman Speyer Properties, the firm that manages Rockefeller Center, involves two areas of work at 30 Rock, at its base and rooftop. On the ground floor and mezzanine level, the ticketing entry to the Top of the Rock experience will be moved over and expanded to an existing storefront. Upgrades will be made to lobby lighting and the overall flow of visitors.

As 6sqft previously reported, the 69th floor of the building will feature an experience based on the iconic 1932 photo of 11 ironworkers eating lunch on a steel beam while they were constructing 30 Rock, which was known as the RCA Building. The “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” experience includes a movable “beam,” where visitors can be seated, strapped in, and then raised and rotated, as a recreation of the famous photograph.

On the 70th floor, the “skylift” includes a circular glass platform that will lift visitors above the rooftop, providing unique 360-degree views of the cityscape. This level also includes a rooftop beacon, a kinetic globe that will be programmed to change with the arrival of guests. Plus, the red tiles will be replaced with mosaic tile work with a celestial design, a motif seen throughout the complex.

The second proposal for the 70th-floor viewing platform; LPC did not like the structure’s visibility and it was scrapped from the final design.

First presented last September, Tishman Speyer’s original proposals underwent a few revisions before gaining approval by the LPC on Tuesday. While the agency was supportive of changes to the landmarked building’s ground floor and mezzanine levels and the rooftop ride, commissioners were concerned about the visibility of the originally proposed viewing platform.

The third and final design ditches the large platform and replaces it with the vertical lift that is not visible when not in use, unlike the original proposal.

“I think what is being composed here now is exciting,” Commissioner Frederick Bland said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s there when it’s there, and it’s not there when it’s not there, which introduces a level of kinetic quality to architecture which I’ve always been interested in.”

The Top of the Rock improvements fall under Tishman Speyer’s broader redevelopment of Rockefeller Center, including a new park on the rooftop of Radio City Music Hallrestoration of the sunken plaza, and other public space upgrades.


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