Preservation Issues

Rainbow Room Granted Landmark Status

Landmarks Commission Report (pdf)

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October 16, 2012

The Conservancy is pleased that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has recently designated the Rainbow Room an interior landmark. The Conservancy had proposed landmark status for this famous top-of-the-skyscraper space years ago finding that most of the features and fixtures were original. The overall volume, layout and decor of the room are significant historically and serve to connect the modern visitor with the nightclub’s fabled past. The designation of this renown interior follows the Conservancy’s push several years ago for the designation of the great public rooms at the Plaza Hotel. All these magnificent public rooms are symbols of the greatness of New York. They are filled with important memories for the millions who have been fortunate enough to visit, dine and celebrate important events in them.

A unanimous vote by the Landmark Preservation Commission granted the 1930’s supper club landmark status, making the Rainbow Room the 115th interior landmark within New York City. “The Rainbow Room came to epitomize New York City glamor,” commission chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement. “It retains not only many of its original characteristics, but also several generations’ worth of memories.”

The Conservancy testified in support of the landmark designation.

Read our statement below.

September 11, 2012

STATEMENT OF THE NEW YORK LANDMARKS CONSERVANCY BEFORE THE NEW YORK CITY LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION REGARDING THE PROPOSED DESIGNATION OF RAINBOW ROOM, 30 ROCKEFELLER CENTER, 65TH FLOOR, MANHATTAN, AS AN INDIVIDUAL LANDMARK

Good day, Chair Tierney and Commissioners. I am Andrea Goldwyn, speaking on behalf of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The Conservancy supports designation of the Rainbow Room as an Interior Landmark. This Modern Classical space has been an icon of New York’s architectural and social history from its Depression-era origins to the present. Designation as an Interior Landmark would ensure that it remains intact and is open to the public for future generations.

Located within the Rockefeller Center Historic District, the Rainbow Room is distinguished by both its interior décor and its relationship with the New York City skyline, visible from the double-height windows which line the circular room. While there have been some alterations to the interior, we believe the overall design scheme is largely intact as are many of the original features. Those include the “color organ” which still projects colored lights across the ceiling (via an updated computerized system); the circular, revolving dance floor; windows; original crystal chandeliers; and, terraced dining spaces with crystal balusters and brass railings.

The Rainbow Room is one of the few survivors of the group of restaurants and nightclubs that opened in the City shortly after the repeal of Prohibition, and has long been the symbol of New York’s glamour and elegance. We urge the Commission to work quickly to designate and thus protect this historic space atop Rockefeller Center.

Thank you for this opportunity to present the Conservancy’s views.