A few weeks ago the whole clan came into the city for the big Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Guess what? It was spectacular! If you surrender yourself to the spirit and leave your pretentious idiot self outside on 6th Avenue (as I did), you can really enjoy the show. Especially if you have a bunch of kids it tow. Their joy is infectious. And if you don’t want to relinquish your cool quotient, you can always appreciate the show from a design/production standpoint. It’s amazing to see what can be done with a big budget.The show before the show is Radio City Music Hall itself. It’s the cathedral of art deco architecture that opened in 1932. These photos do not do it justice. Here’s one of the lobby staircases leading to the mezzanine.
At the top of the staircase is this grand mural. It works in concert with the murals created throughout all of Rockefeller Center. [Fun fact: Nelson Rockefeller had the Diego Rivera mural destroyed because he slipped the image of Lenin into it!]
Here are two shots of the cavernous interior. How do you like that lighting? The spotlight is on one of the two “Mighty” Wurlitzer pipe organs on either side of the stage. As you walk to your seats, you are blasted with Christmas carols. You can feel the notes in the lower registers in your chest.
Outside in Rockefeller Center, people flock to see the big tree. But by focusing on the tree, they risk missing the smaller touches, such as this stature of a beautiful (and, dare I say? erotic) naked nymph above the skating rink.
Her hair has a distinctive art deco pattern to it.
Last week I posted a few photos of the crown of the RCA Victor building on 51st and Lexington. The top of that building is one of my favorite art deco flourishes in all of Manhattan and it is little noticed by passers by. In the comments section, Pueblo Girl suggested I post a few pics of the interior. So here they be. All are clickable.
The building went up in 1931 and contains a wealth of art deco accents. Here’s the exterior at the corner of 51st.
It was deeded to GE before construction was complete and this beautiful clock was installed. It features two outstretched arms holding radio waves.
Also along the exterior are a series of fists clenching radio waves.
Here’s a few interior shots. The elevators all have inlaid wood.
Here’s one end of the lobby. Again, with the radio waves. Nice clock.
And here’s the other end.
This is probably the most elaborate mail box in history.
In the spring, I did a post featuring interior shots of the Chrysler Building—another lovely art deco building. They are here.
Since Chrysler is back in the news with the announcement that 25% of their dealerships are about to close, I thought I’d do a follow-up post on the Chrysler Building, so you can gauge how precipitous their fall has been.
Once again, I wanted to stay away from pics of the spire that you’re already familiar with, so I took a few lobby shots. Are you ready for some beautiful examples of 1930s-era design? Click on each for a detailed study.
Here’s the signage above the revolving doors that lead out to 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Like the outdoor Lexington Avenue entrance shot I posted last week, these have needle-sharp flourishes. They’re polished silver steel and look both elegant and industrial.
The elevator doors have beautiful inlaid wood. The interiors are equally ornate but I couldn’t get past the security guard to get a shot. Before 9/11 you were free to stroll in an out of any building to study the design but now, everything is on lockdown. It’s a shame. The terrorists fucked up my shit.
Here’s a mural that stretches across the lobby ceiling. The depiction is of a slightly elongated, thinned-out Chrysler building painted to match the inlaid wood of the elevators. Studying it gives you a stiff neck but it’s worth it.
This is the lobby. I’m not crazy about how this shot turned out—the lighting is all wrong—but I thought I’d post it anyway.