B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center
John D. Rockefeller originally envisioned this midtown space as a colossal arts hub with the Metropolitan Opera at its center. Then the Depression intervened, so it went on to become the world's first mixed-use business/retail development instead. Its first component was the archetypal Art Deco GE Building (erected in 1933), with its adjoining sunken skating rink, encircled by the flags of all nations and overseen by Paul Manship's golden statue Prometheus. The 14 buildings that complete this sprawling landmark all share the same design vocabularyŚlimestone cladding, sparing Deco flourishes, and a liberal sprinkling of art works to relieve the otherwise sober effect. Beyond its architectural merits, the center is also a major transit center, a thriving public square, and one of midtown's most concentrated shopping districts. Stores, mainly of the mall-chain variety, can be found at street-level as well on the concourse below. Other tenants include the famed auction house Christie's, the premiere concert venue Radio City Music Hall, and the NBC studios for The Today Show, Saturday Night Live and Dateline.Ice Skating
The famous rink is open late fall to late winter daily from 8:30 a.m.Śmidnight, for 90-minute sessions. Skate rentals are $8. For more info, call 212-332-7654.
Tours of Rockefeller Center depart every hour between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day. Tickets are $20. For more info, call 212-698-2000.