Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Art Deco Heaven

In the foreground is the 1936 statue of Atlas by Lee Lawrie and Rene Chambellan. The Art Deco statue greets visitors to 630 Rockefeller Center (the International Building) as well as passers-by. Through the spherical astrolabe on Atlas' shoulders, you can see 30 Rockefeller Center.

"30 Rock", since 1988, is called the GE Building. Before that, it was the RCA Building. The renaming took place after GE bought RCA (and thus, NBC) 27 years ago.

Prior to 1988, "the GE Building" was the beautiful 1931 Art Deco skyscraper at 570 Lexington Avenue. Oddly enough, the building was designed for RCA, and the original plans refer to it as "RCA Building." As it was being finished, GE and RCA were involved in some anti-trust actions, and in the settlement, GE got the building.

I was privileged to work in the "old" GE Building at 570 Lexington for 8 years. There was a company dining room on the 50th floor where anyone, from Jack Welch to the newest mail boy, could eat for a few bucks. The view to the West from the mens' room on the 50th was spectacular, until the Leona "Queen of Mean" Helmsley built her execrable Helmsley Palace Hotel.

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