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Rockefeller Center: Overview of an Iconic NYC Landmark

January 5, 2024


Rockefeller Center, one of New York City's most visited sites, is a National Historic Landmark whose fame extends worldwide thanks to countless appearances in television series, movies, and variety shows like The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. From the enormous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, the ice skating rink, and the giant gilded Prometheus Fountain to the high-kicking Rockettes and eclectic musical performances at Radio City Music Hall, everyone knows something about Rockefeller Center.

There is a lot to do here. The area offers an abundance of retail spaces, including numerous restaurants and shops that attract tourists and locals alike. There are too many shops to mention in Rockefeller Center, but recent additions like the Other Half Brewing Taproom and Rough Trade have made the complex feel young and hip.

Spanning 22 acres in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center is recognizable for its cohesive limestone façades. The complex is located between 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, encompassing 19 distinct buildings, making it hard to miss even for first-time visitors.

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Rockefeller Center lies between 48th-51st Street and Fifth-Sixth Avenues


John D. Rockefeller Jr., the financier, philanthropist, and heir to the Standard Oil fortune, envisioned the giant complex as a city within a city—precisely what it feels like today. Designed by architect Raymond Hood, construction began in the 1930s and was mostly complete by the end of the decade.

Originally intended to accommodate a new opera house for the Metropolitan Opera, the Rockefeller project evolved into a larger complex after the opera's withdrawal. Rockefeller financed the massive real estate development and transformed the area into the largest private building project of its time. The construction provided much-needed employment to thousands of workers who were struggling during the Great Depression. 

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Sculputrual bas-relief on 630 Fifth Ave at Rockefeller Center

Over the years, Rockefeller Center expanded, adding more buildings and features, like the Top of the Rock observation deck and the Rainbow Room. In fact, even during COVID-19 pandemic, a half-acre rooftop garden, part of the original Rockefeller design, was added atop Radio City Music Hall.

Today, Rockefeller Center remains the centerpiece of Midtown Manhattan and an architectural destination showcasing the grandeur of Art Deco design. Intricate bas-reliefs, lavish murals, and geometric forms enhance each building within the complex and cohesively tie them all together. These design elements surround you at every turn; you really have to see it to grasp the magnitude. It's truly spectacular.  

30 ROCK 

30 Rockefeller Plaza is the most well-known building and is the hub of Rockefeller Center. Known as the RCA Building for many years, it's now called the Comcast Building. At 70 stories, the building towers high above the other buildings in the complex. Most of 30 Rockefeller is Class-A office space, with many shops and restaurants occupying the first and lower levels.  

30 Rock is home to numerous companies, most notably NBC Universal, which is the reason why so many NBC television shows are filmed in the complex. It's not uncommon to see a celebrity walking around before an appearance on The Tonight Show or a rehearsal for SNL. The other anchor office tenants include Deloitte and Lazard Asset Management. The building caters to companies with large office footprints, as each floor has roughly 35,000 square feet, and most companies occupy many floors. Therefore, it's unlikely that a company looking for office space in Rockefeller Center within, say, a 3000-5000 square foot range would find office space availabilities at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. But there are alternatives; many of the other Rockefeller office buildings have smaller offices for lease. 

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The card reads: "This picture really doesn't do the RCA Building justice but it was the best I could find. Anyway 70 stories is plenty high. I haven't tried the Empire State yet. Sara."

Office buildings in Rockefeller Center:

  • 1 Rockefeller Plaza
  • 10 Rockefeller Plaza
  • 30 Rockefeller Plaza
  • 45 Rockefeller Plaza
  • 50 Rockefeller Plaza
  • 1270 Avenue of the Americas
  • 1230 Avenue of the Americas
  • 610 Fifth Avenue
  • 620 Fifth Avenue
  • 600 Fifth Avenue


610 Fifth Avenue and 620 Fifth Avenue are known as the La Maison Francaise and the British Empire Building, respectively. Each comprises roughly 250,000 square feet, with retail tenants on the ground floor and 5 floors of office space. Perhaps it's apropos that the two buildings are separated by the Channel Gardens, a landscaped pedestrian walkway that creates a division between them. The Channel Gardens is a tourist hotspot, partially because the two buildings and gardens create a photogenic frame that makes for a dramatic picture of Rockefeller Center. An adjacent building called 45 Rock or 630 Fifth Avenue or The International Building—they have lots of names—is a much larger office building with 41 floors and over 1 million square feet of office space. All 3 buildings are known as the International Complex within Rockefeller Center. Britain and France are no longer associated with the buildings, but the names stuck.



Sure, there are huge companies that lease office space in Rockefeller Center, but there are also Rockefeller Center coworking spaces that cater to smaller companies and startups looking for shorter-term flexible office spaces. As you might expect, these are high-quality offices with many shared amenities, like conference rooms, kitchens, and lounge areas with sofas and informal meeting areas. One of the primary benefits of renting a flexible office space in Rockefeller Center is that, for a low cost, you get access to a Class-A building in a prestigious part of NYC that everyone knows. "My office is in Rockefeller Center."—now that sounds impressive.

office space lease rockefeller center | office sublets

Companies can rent office space at Rockefeller Center even if they're looking for a small amount of space for a short term.


  1. Top of the Rock Observation Deck: This is a stop on many tourist's lists of things to do when visiting NYC. No wonder a line usually flows out the door on West 50th Street with eager tourists waiting to ride the elevators to the rooftop on the 70th floor. The panoramic views are spectacular, and unlike the other observation decks in NYC, top of the Rock has the best views of Central Park. 

  2. Radio City Music Hall: Radio City is a world-famous entertainment venue with a stunning Art Deco interior. It's worth buying tickets to an event just to feast your eyes on the interior. The Rockettes have a long-running residency over the holiday season, but throughout the rest of the year, there are concerts, comedy acts, and other events each week. I have fond memories of seeing Leonard Cohen from the cheap seats. 

  3. The Rink at Rockefeller Center: The picturesque ice-skating rink is especially popular in winter when the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is towering high above the Prometheus Statue. During the warmer months, the rink is set up for roller skating and hosts various events, such as Record Store Day, organized by Rough Trade. 

  4. Rockefeller Plaza: The central area of the complex almost always has a bustling atmosphere, especially in the morning when The Today Show is hosting concerts and television segments on the plaza. Any tourist who wants to have a chance to talk to Al Roker and get their face on TV must arrive before the crack of dawn. 

  5. NBC Studios: As we mentioned, NBC Universal is one of the primary tenants in the Rockefeller Center complex. Getting tickets for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon or, if you're lucky, even Saturday Night Live is possible. (I saw Late Night with David Letterman in Studio 6A at 30 Rock as a young tourist visiting the city. The guests were Damon Wayans and Nick Cave!)

  6. The Rainbow Room: This storied restaurant and event space on the 65th floor is known for its elegant atmosphere and sweeping city views. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was known for featuring big bands and jazz musicians from the likes of Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, and Louis Armstrong. In recent years, it has hosted intimate concerts by performers such as Father John Misty and Dry Cleaning. In 2012, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Rainbow Room as a landmark, so it's here to stay.

We usually have a few office sublets at Rockefeller Center. Get in touch for current availability.