30 Rockefeller Plaza application for upgrades to TOP OF THE ROCK including work on the ground floor, mezzanine, 69th and 70th floors.
At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, September 09, 2021, the following resolution passed with a vote of 33 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:
WHEREAS, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka 30 Rock, (“Applicant”), is a skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center, located between 48th and 51st streets between 6th and 5th Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan; and
WHEREAS, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a 68 story building (plus 2 roof top elevations), completed in 1933, was designed in the Art Deco style by Raymond Hood, Rockefeller Center’s lead architect and John D. Rockefeller, Jr was the developer; and
WHEREAS, The complex was designated an individual landmark in 1985, and parts of the interior lobby and mezzanine were designated an interior landmark in 1985 as well; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing the following modifications to the ground floor, interior mezzanine (interior landmark), as well as exterior modifications on the 69th and 70th floors; and
WHEREAS, modifications include:
WHEREAS, The Applicant wishes to accomplish two general goals with these requested changes:
1). On the ground floor lobby and mezzanine, to improve egress, circulation, ticketing, and merchandise operations, specifically changing storefront windows on West 50th street to double and revolving door entrances, adding ticketing and gift store operations on ground floor, widening passage for people to circulate after purchasing tickets, creating an exit on the mezzanine level by creating a large opening and lastly, updating existing ceiling lighting.
2). On The Top of The Rock, the 69th and 70th Floors, updating the observation deck to enhance the quality of ticket holder experience further evolving an historic objective of 30 Rock to provide an “amusement park-like” experience for visitors. These changes include three primary additions: a beam that raises and rotates for improved views and ticket holder photographs on 69th Fl; a Beacon or kinetic, illuminating globe structure, a viewing platform with 360 unobstructed views, and the updating of flooring with a mosaic tiles in a celestial-like design, all on the 70th floor.
Ground Floor and Mezzanine: Entrances, Exits, Gift Store, Expanded spaces, Ticketing
WHEREAS, On the Ground Floor, on the 50th Street Storefronts area, the Applicant is proposing to modify the existing atrium and retail space (current tenant J. Crew), along West 50th street into an expanded ticketing center and retail and/or merchandise area by converting three existing storefront viewing windows into a new double door, two new sets of revolving doors and a single entrance doors to accommodate egress; and
WHEREAS, The new revolving double and single door frames are to match existing, using statuary bronze, light and dark colored materials and signage will read “Top Of The Rock”; and
WHEREAS, Existing lobby wall would be extended on the West 50th street side of the Ground Floor North lobby, for egress purposes, using existing details and materiality, and plan includes a new door, new stone and plaster to match existing lobby details and materiality, and a new vitrine to match existing; and
WHEREAS, On the Mezzanine Level, proposed changes include repurposing a room for a retail space by eliminating a wall, door, vitrine, and creating a wide opening punctuated by a new curved marble side wall to identify the entrance where the letters TOP OF THE ROCK GIFT SHOP will be mounted and replacing all existing ceiling light fixtures with new surface mounted LED light fixtures providing an improved illumination with cirque large flush mount tech lighting which would no longer reflect the rounded historic detail but rather have a straight, modern edge; and
WHEREAS, Changes to the lobby and mezzanine may be needed for operational purposes such as egress, circulation, and customer engagement and all alterations use same or similar designs and materials as original and are contextual; and
“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” Experience
WHEREAS, On the north deck of the Top of the Rock, on the 69th floor, three carbon steel horizontal beam structures would be installed for tourists to sit on and each beam would raise, lower and rotate to simulate the “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” historic photograph to improve on the existing experience presently located on the mezzanine level with unobstructed views of NYC for ticket holders, deck illumination and sound through deck speakers; and
WHEREAS, The proposed removal of non-functional building structures and equipment on the 69th/70th floor is not altering the historic fabric, and the installation of a beam attraction will have a minimal impact on the surrounding; and
“Top of The Top”
WHEREAS, On the 70th Floor, the Applicant is proposing the addition of a rooftop beacon, new mosaic tile flooring, and an additional observation platform called “The Top of the Top”; and
WHEREAS, The proposed rooftop beacon is a 28’-2 ½ “ high globe with rings sculpture using LED media panels and sculpted glass panels that transforms in shape and effect, with an LED video band at the base (digital display) and speakers for audio and the globe rings are antique nickel and the band and base elements are nickel with spun aluminum finish; the pedestal is decorative, comprised of glass lens louvers, rings of LED light, a grill for speakers, an access door panel on the East side and a decorative pediment base with rings and LED light; and the beacon symbolically references the historic iconography of Rockefeller Center (Atlas, Winged Mercury, Wisdom and Dance, Drama and Song) and compliments historic illuminations used on other notable NYC iconic buildings; and
WHEREAS, The proposed celestial mosaic tile would cover all existing flooring surface at the 70th story in complimentary, appropriate historic “art reference” to the historic iconography of Rockefeller Center; and
WHEREAS, On the 70th floor, existing equipment including non-functioning Doppler radar, non-functioning mechanical vent hoods, vacant antenna mast, kitchen exhaust vent, antenna farm and brick bulkhead are proposed to be removed; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to build on “Top of the Top” a 110’10” viewing platform with glass railing and metal clad support with new glass elevator shaft and new glass stair, to project and protrude over a pedestal, in a very modern, plain and bulky expression; and would be visible from the street and would be very visible from the existing “Top of the Rock” historic viewing deck; and
WHEREAS, The proposed 70th floor alterations, including the new mosaic tile floor and the beacon are harmonious with the building, the beacon will be visible but the building has a precedent for an illuminated presence at the top; and
WHEREAS, The proposed “Top of the Top” design is not contextual, not harmonious with the rest of the observation deck design, the materials and massing of the platform are incongruent and contextually not reflective of the historic façade (stonework and details) that exist presently on the 69th/70th floor of which 30 Rockefeller is defined and beloved as a historic architectural gem, and while it will be minimally visible from the street, it will be extremely visible and overpowering from the existing observation deck, which is landmarked and is a important historic element of the building visited by 2 million visitors each year; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval for all proposed changes, provided that the proposed “Top of The Top” viewing platform expression be made less intrusive, less heavy and more in keeping with the Art Deco style of the building.