Janet Babin, Host, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a host and reporter at WNYC.
The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to offer the landmark protection to The Rainbow Room — the supper club that opened in 1934.
"The Rainbow Room came to epitomize New York City glamour,” said commission chairman Robert B. Tierney. “It retains not only many of its original characteristics, but also several generations’ worth of memories."
The Room is located at the east end of the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the 70-story skyscraper that was initially called the RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Building.
The commission called it an example of Streamlined Modern design. Its name was inspired by an RCA organ that converted music into changing colors. The Rainbow Room becomes the 115th interior landmark to be designated by the commission.
Interior landmark status means that any proposed changes to the inside of the large room at the east end of the 65th floor will now require a special permit from the city. The exterior of 30 Rockefeller Center was designated a landmark in 1985.
Construction on the Rainbow Room began shortly after Prohibition ended in 1934. It was designed by Associated Architects, with Wallace K. Harrison as the lead designer. Vincent Minnelli also had a hand in the room's glamorous design.
But it might be awhile before New Yorkers and visitors can relish the room’s landmark status. The restaurant is now closed, and according to its website, a new operator has not yet been named. The Rainbow Room is owned by Tishman Speyer, which owns Rockefeller Center.