75 Rockefeller Plaza via Google Street View
Ten floors of an office tower in Rockefeller Center will be converted into short-term rentals, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. RXR Realty, which has leased the tower at 75 Rockefeller Plaza since 2012, has partnered with Airbnb to transform a portion of the 87-year-old building into roughly 200 units of high-end lodging. In a press release, RXR CEO Scott Rechler described the new venture as a “travel experience that immerses guests in a dynamic, thriving community in the heart of Rockefeller Center that’s vastly different than anything else in the market today.”
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Left: Rendering of Rose Hill; credit: Pandiscio Green and Recent Spaces. Right: Still from a video by artist Marco Brambilla, commissioned by Rockefeller Group to emphasize the building’s Art Deco influence.
Formed over 90 years ago to develop and build Rockefeller Center, developer Rockefeller Group has never built a residential tower in its New York City hometown–until now. Their new condominium tower, Rose Hill has just been unveiled along with the launch of the building’s teaser site. The 600-foot tower is currently under construction at 30 East 29th Street. The building will be designed by CetraRuddy; first looks show an Art Deco-inspired facade that does not diverge heavily from the architectural style of Rockefeller Center.
More, this way
Via Flickr cc
Driving in Midtown is never advised, but really must be avoided this Wednesday. The 86th annual lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree kicks off tomorrow, bringing with it more than 100,000 spirited visitors and blocks of street closures. The city’s Department of Transportation designated Wednesday a “Gridlock Alert Day” for the celebration, meaning drivers can expect travel throughout the area to take twice as long as usual.
It’s been more than three years since FAO Schwarz closed its doors after 150 years, ending its run as the nation’s oldest toy store. At the time, owner Toys “R” Us blamed rising rents at Midtown’s General Motors Building, but assured the public they’d be looking for a new location. And since California-based firm ThreeSixty Group Inc. took over ownership in 2016, that day has finally come. According to the Wall Street Journal, FAO Schwarz will open a new 20,000-square-foot location in Rockefeller Center this November. Part of the company’s new strategy is to bring a “sense of theater” to the store, which will include costumed employees, magicians and dancers, and product demonstrators.
Get a look at the new storefront
The 1931 tree, via Rockefeller Center
The official website of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree describes the holiday tree as a “world-wide symbol of Christmas,” a statement we really can’t argue with, especially since 125 million people visit the attraction each year. And with tonight marking the 85th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, an annual celebration that attracts tens of thousands in person and hundreds of millions more on television, we decided to take a look back at the tradition’s history. From its start as a modest Depression-era pick-me-up for Rockefeller Center construction workers to World War regulations to its current 550-pound Swarovski star, there’s no shortage of interesting tidbits about one of NYC’s biggest attractions.
More on the history here
New York City’s avenue blocks are long, as are its winters; getting from Rockefeller Center to Times Square can be an unpleasant, cold and crowded experience–unless you take the underground passageway, the city’s largest, that spans the entire two-block-plus distance. Below, take a virtual stroll from avenue to avenue (and from the B/D/F/M to the N/R/W subways): Enter on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Street and exit at Seventh Avenue and 49th Street–and buy yourself a few more minutes before you burrow into that parka.
Take a virtual trip through the tunnel
In 1932, Mexican artist Diego Rivera was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to add a mural to the soaring lobby of Rockefeller Center. Despite being known for his petulant temper and loyalty to Communism, Rivera was still one of the most highly sought after artists of his time, lauded for his creative genius and his detailed paintings. But politics, artistic vision, power and wealth collided in 1934 when a displeased Rockefeller had the very mural he commissioned from Rivera chiseled off the wall the night before it was to be completed.
read about the mysterious mural here
Grab your skates kids, because the iconic ice rink at The Rockefeller Center is reopen for business today! This year The Rink at Rockefeller Center is celebrating its 80th year of operation (it opened on Christmas Day in 1936), and to mark the occasion the center held a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning with figure skater and Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen. While this mid-60s sweater weather may not feel quite as festive as that Christmastime nip, hitting the ice now does have a number of advantages—namely not having to bundle up, and not having to fight the lines. More than a quarter-million skaters are anticipated to visit the rink this year.
more info here
In a city where hundreds of interesting happenings occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Art Nerd‘s philosophy is a combination of observation, participation, education and of course a party to create the ultimate well-rounded week. Jump ahead for Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer’s top picks for 6sqft readers!
This week, check out the giant swimming pool that is smack in the middle of Rockefeller Center, or frolic with the two-story bunnies in Battery Park City. Photographer Joe Russo shares pieces from his years of shooting celebs and artists, and the annual AIPAD photographer show takes over the gorgeous Park Avenue Armory. Music novelist Ben Vendetta talks about 90s Brit Pop at Otto’s Shrunken Head, and old school graffiti artist BIO shares new work in the Bronx. And finally, save your pennies to party in style with Swizz Beatz at the Brooklyn Museum.
more on all the best events this way
View of Elgin Botanic Garden in 1801
Today, New Yorkers get to enjoy lush landscapes and beautiful plantings at the 250-acre New York Botanical Garden and the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but these outdoor oases weren’t founded until 1891 and 1910, respectively. About 100 years prior, a public botanic garden sprouted up on 20 acres of land at what is today Rockefeller Center, and it was the first such garden in the nation.
Elgin Botanic Garden was founded in 1801 by Dr. David Hosack, a physician, botanist, and educator, perhaps best known for serving as the doctor to Alexander Hamilton after his duel with Aaron Burr in 1804. He used his own money to purchase and landscape the grounds, and by 1805 it was home to more than 1,500 plant species, which he studied for medicinal purposes.
The full history of Hosack and the Elgin Botanic Garden