When John Jacob Astor IV built the Knickerbocker Hotel in 1906, he launched a generation of luxury Times Square hotels. The Beaux Arts masterpiece attracted the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. Rockefeller, and Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. It was the birthplace of the martini and the site where the sale of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees took place. But after just 15 years, the hotel’s success declined just as fast as it emerged and it was repurposed as an office space, later becoming the Newsweek Building.
Today, though, the landmark is reclaiming its title of ultimate luxury hotel under its original moniker. After a two-year, $240 million modern renovation, the Knickerbocker offers 330 guest rooms, a rooftop bar and lounge with the ultimate view of the Times Square ball drop, and a foodie destination restaurant from chef Charlie Palmer.
Uncover the history and future of the Knickerbocker
The Rainbow Room served its first guests on October 3, 1934, and now, almost 80 years later to the day, the historic restaurant and event space has reopened after a restoration by Gabellini Sheppard Architects.
Located on the 65th floor of the Raymond Hood-designed 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock), it was the first restaurant located in a high-rise building and for decades was the highest restaurant in the country. Suffering from a decline in business, the fine-dining establishment closed its doors in 2009. But in 2012, the Rainbow Room was declared an official interior landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), and a year later it was announced that the storied space would reopen this fall. Right on schedule, the new incarnation of the venue opened last night for a preview by the Sir John Soanes Museum Foundation.
Ogle the landmarked restaurant here