The Comcast Building at Rockefeller Center
|Type||Offices and television studios (NBC)|
|Location||30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10112
|Owner||NBCUniversal (floors 1-30 and 50-59)
Tishman Speyer (floors 31-49)
|Roof||850 ft (260 m)|
|Design and construction|
Comcast Building previously GE Building
|Area||22 acres (8.8 ha)|
|Architectural style||Modern, Art Deco|
|Part of||Rockefeller Center (#87002591)|
|Added to NRHP||December 23, 1987|
|Designated CP||December 23, 1987|
The Comcast Building previously GE Building 1988-2015 and RCA Building 1933-1988 (sometimes called by its address, 30 Rockefeller Plaza) is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the NBC television network headquarters. At 850 feet (260 m) high, the 70-story building is the 14th tallest in New York City and the 39th tallest in the United States. Some of the building's nicknames include The Slab and 30 Rock.
The building is currently undergoing a US$170 million floor-by-floor interior renovation, which (when complete) will result in it being renamed the Comcast Building, complete with new Comcast signage at street level and atop the building, including the display of the iconic NBC Peacock logo on the building's exterior for the first time.
The building was completed in 1933 as part of the Rockefeller Center. The noted Art Deco architect Raymond Hood led a team of Rockefeller architects. It was named the RCA Building for its main tenant, the Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919 by General Electric. It was the first building constructed with the elevators grouped in the central core. During construction, photographer Charles Clyde Ebbets took the famous photograph Lunch atop a Skyscraper on the 69th floor. National Broadcasting Company, also owned by General Electric, leased space in the building.
The office of the Rockefeller family occupied Room 5600 on the 56th floor. This space is now occupied by Rockefeller Family & Associates, spanning between the 54th floor and the 56th floor of the building. John D. Rockefeller had a private vault in the basement of the building, accessible via a private elevator from his office.
In 1985, the building acquired official landmark status. The RCA Building was renamed as the GE Building in 1988, two years after General Electric re-acquired the RCA Corporation.
The Comcast Building is one of the most famous and recognized skyscrapers in New York. The frieze located above the main entrance was produced by Lee Lawrie and depicts "Wisdom", along with a slogan that reads "Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times", from Isaiah 33:6 (KJV). The vertical detailing of the building's austere Art Deco facade is integrated with a slim, functionally expressive form. The present exterior is recognized for the large GE letters at the building's top. The famous marquee above the building's entrance is seen on numerous television shows, such as 30 Rock and Seinfeld. The marquee was replaced in fall 2014 as part of its massive renovation and now advertises The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Unlike most other tall Art Deco buildings constructed in the 1930s, the Comcast Building has no spire on its roof.
The building's nickname became the title of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which follows the cast and crew of a fictional television show filmed inside the building. Aside from two live episodes, which were produced at NBC's facilities inside the building, the series (which ended in 2013) used the building mostly for exterior and occasional lobby shots, while interior scenes were filmed at Silvercup Studios in Queens.
KWO35, the NOAA Weather Radio station for the majority of the Tri-State area, originally transmitted from atop the Comcast Building at 162.55 MHz; a doppler radar is also located atop the building; it was previously used as Doppler 4000 during WNBC-TV's newscasts. However, in March 2014, due to interferences with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Weather Service forecast office in Upton, New York moved the transmitter to the MetLife Building near Times Square. The doppler radar remains atop the Comcast Building.
Below the building is a shopping concourse, connected to the lobby via an escalator. The open lobby's rich materials and reduced black and beige ornamental scheme is enhanced by dramatic lighting. Granite covers the building base to a height of 4 feet (1.2 m), and the shaft has a refined facade of Indiana Limestone with aluminum spandrel panels.
The 65th floor of the Comcast Building was an event room and restaurant named the Rainbow Room. It was revamped and reopened to the public with new operators until it closed in 2009 due to the economic downturn. The interior of the Rainbow Room holds landmark status, awarded by the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission in 2012. Following extensive refurbishment, the Rainbow Room reopened in fall 2014.
In June 2014, Comcast was granted permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to make modifications to the building to reflect its ownership of NBCUniversal. The GE Building would be officially known as the Comcast Building. Comcast plans to replace the neon GE lettering from the top of the building with a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall, LED-lit Comcast wordmark and NBC Peacock, and add a 17-foot (5.2 m) NBC Peacock on the building western's facade. Additionally, Comcast planned to renovate the building's entrance, adding a marquee promoting it as home of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The building is well known for housing the headquarters of NBC, the New York facilities of NBC Studios, and NBCUniversal Cable. In 1996, NBC bought the 1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m2) of space it had leased since 1933. The purchase allowed the company to introduce new technologies and renovate the space; it also gave them options to renew the lease on the Today Show studios, broadcast from a nearby building, 10 Rockefeller Plaza. NBC owns floors 1–30 & 50–59.
The building's studios include Studio 8H, the home of Saturday Night Live. Studio 8H was once the largest radio studio in the world, originally home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. It was converted into a television studio in 1950. The Tonight Show was also taped at the GE Building in Studio 6-B from the early Jack Paar years until 1972, when the show moved to Burbank, California. In 2014, The Tonight Show returned to Studio 6-B with its latest incarnation, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Tonight's companion program, Late Night, now branded Late Night with Seth Meyers, has been produced from the building since it started in 1982; the relocation of Tonight back to New York in 2014 brought the two shows under one roof for the first time. During its run, Rosie O'Donnell broadcast her syndicated talk show from the building. Studio 3C is the original home of NBC Nightly News back in 1999 and later became the home of News 4 New York on WNBC in April 2012.
NBC Studio productions
|1A||The Today Show||The network's daily morning program is produced at a ground-level windowed studio across 49th Street from the GE Building since the mid-1990s, at 10 Rockefeller Plaza; it was previously broadcast from inside the skyscraper. Studio 1A is a multilevel studio. The studio was also used by WNBC's Live at Five, and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. and NBC Nightly News for a short period during decontamination of the broadcast's facilities and offices in October 2001 due to the 2001 anthrax attacks.||Ground floor|
|2K||MSNBC Secondary HD Control Room||Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to MSNBC programs. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects control room 2K and studio floor 3A.||2nd floor|
|3A||MSNBC main studios and headquarters||Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to many MSNBC programs including the main news desk where MSNBC Live and other MSNBC programs are shot. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects Studio 3A and Studio 3C. Former home of NBC Nightly News.||3rd floor|
|3B||NBC Nightly News||Former home of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, the NBC daytime serial The Doctors, the Today Show, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, and coverage of the 2008 presidential election. 3B is the only studio in the building which has kept its original dimensions since it was constructed in 1933.||3rd floor|
|3C||WNBC||Formerly home of NBC Nightly News from 1999-October 23, 2011, however the studio's size was decreased significantly during a 2007 renovation. Became the home for News 4 New York on April 21, 2012.||3rd floor|
|3K||Early Today/All In with Chris Hayes/The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell'/"DATELINE"||3K was formed by combining former radio studio 3F and studio 3H. 3H was the first studio in the building to be converted for Television production, being converted in 1935 and serving as NBC Television's lone studio until the conversion of Studio 8G in 1948. Former home of NBC Nightly News, NBC Sports, The Today Show, The Ed Show, and The Howdy Doody Show, green screen room for coverage of 2008 presidential election result program for NBC News/MSNBC.||3rd floor|
|NBC News "Instant News" Studio||A small studio used for breaking news bulletins during the Huntley-Brinkley era. Cameras in this studio were kept "hot" (on) 24 hours a day in case of an emergency. Most notably, network coverage regarding the John F. Kennedy assassination originated from this studio. It was also used for cut-ins regarding the Gemini 5 spaceflight.||5th floor|
|6A||The Meredith Vieira Show||A former home of Twenty One, The Tomorrow Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dr. Oz Show, and NBC Radio Network programs from 1933 to the 1950s. 6A was the first 30 Rock studio to be converted for high definition television. In August 2013, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon moved into this space while Studio 6B underwent renovations for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Since September 2014, Meredith Vieira's daytime talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show, has originated from this studio.||6th floor|
|6B||The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon||Also the original home of the Broadway Open House, Bob Hope's radio program, television version of Texaco Star Theater, Tonight Starring Jack Paar, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and NBC Nightly News. Former home for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the former studio for flagship station WNBC. Current home for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.||6th floor|
|6C||NBC Digital Studios||The current home of such web based shows as "The Untitled News Comedy Show", "Starstruck", and "A Big Life with Sissy Biggers". Was previously home to a small set for WNBC as well as WNBC's Master control.||6th floor|
|6E||Global Media Insert Studios||Former home of Early Today and MSNBC secondly studio (Ed Show home and Breaking News coverage), called as "Newsnooks". This space was previously a portion of WNBC's Master Control.||6th floor|
|7E||WNBC newsroom||The WNBC newsroom and home of WNBC's newscasts from 2008 to 2012. During the time WNBC broadcast news from this space, it did so from a small studio built into space that was formerly a conference room. Since WNBC has moved production of newscasts to Studio 3C, the studio space in 7E has been converted into additional office space for the WNBC Newsroom.||7th floor|
|8A||(Unknown)||A "Studio 8A" is marked on an official drawing of the 8th floor of the building. Judging by the surrounding area, this studio was likely used for audio recording. It's possible this studio was converted to television studio 8B.||8th floor|
|8B||Decision 2010 Coverage||This studio was used for coverage of the 2010 midterm elections.||8th floor|
|8G||Late Night with Seth Meyers||A former radio studio converted for Television use in 1948 and went on air April 22 of that year. Former home of The Phil Donahue Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Caroline Rhea Show, The Jane Pauley Show and Football Night in America, as well as the original Concentration and Jeopardy! which recorded their color episodes on alternating days/weeks from 1964 to 1975. NBC Nightly News used this studio during the 2007 renovations of NBC News headquarters, except on some Sunday evenings where, due to football programming, the news was broadcast from Studio 1A. This studio has also been used for Decision 2008 and Decision 2010 election night coverage. Current home of Late Night with Seth Meyers.||8th floor|
|8H||Saturday Night Live||Studio 8H was, at the time of construction, the world's largest radio studio. It was converted to television use in 1950, however it had hosted television broadcasts prior to conversion, namely for simulcasts of The Voice of Firestone. Former home of Last Call with Carson Daly, Later with Bob Costas, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. Used for offsite coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics and for the "Live Show" and "Live from Studio 6H" episodes of 30 Rock. 8H was also the temporary home to Football Night in America during the 2013 NFL season.||8th floor|
This restaurant, run by the Cipriani family, is on the 65th floor of the GE Building. Opened in 1934, it was the first restaurant to be located in a high-rise building and remained the highest elevated restaurant in the United States for decades. Suffering from a decline in business following the 2008 economic reversal, the restaurant closed in 2009. In 2012, it was declared a New York City landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission. On September 17, 2013, it was announced that the Rainbow Room would reopen in fall 2014 after undergoing a full restoration along with a new executive chef and management team. After a years-long restoration process by Gabellini Sheppard Associates, it reopened to the public on October 5, 2014, with new owner-operator Tishman Speyer and chef Jonathan Wright at the helm. The renovation includes the landmarked dance floor and a new cocktail lounge called SixtyFive.
The observation deck atop the skyscraper, dubbed "Top of the Rock", reopened to the public on November 1, 2005, after undergoing a $75 million renovation. It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room. The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. It is often considered the best panoramic city view, if only because it offers a view of the aforementioned Empire State Building, which cannot be seen from its own observation deck. The timed entry system and larger observation deck also results in shorter waiting times compared to the Empire State.
The "Top of the Rock" had also been co-opted for NBC's Sunday Night Football during the 2006–07 season, with the top player/MVP in that night's game according to John Madden and Al Michaels receiving the honor of being that night's "Rock Star" in the form of a glass trophy display on the observation deck; this was a replacement for the Horse Trailer Award formerly awarded on ABC's Monday Night Football. The Horse Trailer honor was restored for the 2007–08 season.
The GE building as seen from the Citigroup Center at dusk.
detail of entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza showing verse from Isaiah 33:6.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to GE Building.|
- Top Of The Rock – Official "Top Of The Rock" page
- in-Arch.net: The RCA/GE Building
- Top Of The Rock Photo Gallery – About.com
- NYC Insider Guide – Insider tips and secrets about Top of the Rock
- Top of the Rock Panorama
- Companies located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza - List of Tenants at 30 Rock