The city will expand pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall during the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday. Starting Nov. 29, 49th and 50th Streets, as well as Fifth and Sixth Avenues, will be partially closed to cars to alleviate congestion caused by the roughly 800,000 people who visit the Christmas Tree every day during the season. The expansion marks the first time the city has created a defined pedestrian space for the area.
For years, residents and community leaders have called on the city to add pedestrian space near Rockefeller Center to make conditions safer for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the area during the holiday season to see the tree and store windows. This week, the Department of Transportation privately issued a pilot plan to address the major crowds by increasing pedestrian space on Fifth Avenue between East 48th and East 51st Streets. But Mayor Bill de Blasio quashed the plan before it was officially released, claiming “it was not signed off on by City Hall.”
Projection at Rockefeller Center. For The City © 2005 Jenny Holzer, courtesy of Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Artist Jenny Holzer—known for her practice of displaying text in the public sphere—is partnering with Creative Time for the third time on a new public art project at Rockefeller Center. VIGIL is a series of light projections addressing gun violence in America through first-hand accounts, poems, and responses by Americans who have had to reckon with the everyday reality of gun violence. The words will be beamed across the iconic Midtown destination each night from October 10 to 12 beginning at 8 p.m.
Before it’s even truly felt like fall, winter is coming to New York City. Ice skating rinks and holiday markets will open this month, giving an early taste of cold-weather activities. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, which includes holiday vendors and 17,000-square-foot ice rink, officially opens on Oct. 31, letting you trade trick-or-treating for shopping and skating. The iconic skating rink at Rockefeller Center will open on Oct. 12 for the fall and winter season and Lasker Rink in Central Park will open sometime later this month.
Photo via City Winery
City Winery’s SoHo location may officially be closed, but that doesn’t mean saying goodbye to the food and wine for which it’s known. The restaurant and music venue has opened an outdoor garden pop-up at Rockefeller Center, serving up Mediterranean bites and locally-made wine on tap. As 6sqft previously reported, the restaurant and music venue will soon move from its long-time home on Varick Street to a new spot at Pier 57, after the Walt Disney Corporation purchased the property last year. The new Hudson River Park location isn’t expected to open until 2020. In the meantime, the seasonal pop-up in Midtown will meet your wine needs through the fall.
Queens Night Market, Photo by Storm Garner
Since launching in 2015, the Queens Night Market has become a favorite in the food market scene for its international offerings. But for those who can’t make it out to Flushing Meadows, the Market will be opening a new daytime outpost at Rockefeller Center starting July 29th. Founder John Wang said The OUTPOST by Queens Night Market is “a chance to test out the area’s appetite for unique global offerings, and also a chance
for some of our dedicated vendors to profit from all the passion and hard work they bring to the Queens Night Market.”
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.”
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.
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.