The original compass-rose parquet dancefloor has been restored, polished to a shine and retrofitted with mechanics that will once again allow it to spin. Above, recessed lights create a rainbow pattern on the ceiling.Rebecca Davis / Today
By Ben Popken
A darkened spot in the New York City skyline is lighting up again. After a five-year hiatus, the historic Rainbow Room restaurant and event space atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza has reopened, renovated and reborn.
Originally opened during the Great Depression in 1934, the room hosted and toasted some of the city's and entertainment's finest. It served Noël Coward and Cole Porter on the day it opened. Brooke Astor, Muhammad Ali and Howard Hughes have all walked across the rotating dance floor, surrounded by the 24 double-height floor-to-ceiling windows offering extensive views of Manhattan's skyline.
But by the 70's, the room that symbolized the ultimate in New York City glitz and glamour had grown shabby underneath the feet of tourists and businessmen. An update in the 80's brought back some of the old glitter and glam. However its doors shuttered in 2009 following a landlord-tenant dispute.
Now building owners Tishman Speyer have brought the classic back for another spin on the top of the rock. Keeping in line with the landmark status the room received in 2012, all the site's historic details have been preserved, brought to life with new luster.
Take a peek with us as we look in upstairs, and through the archives, to see the Rainbow Room as it was then and now.