2. Rockefeller Center Art & History: A Self-Guided Audio Tour
Millions visit Rockefeller Center, but few notice its many hidden wonders, or understand the fascinating story of how it came to be. On this walking tour, I’ll show you what other visitors miss, including the secret stories contained in its decorative artworks, and the cast of fascinating characters who created it. Starting outside the center on Rockefeller Plaza, you’ll hear tales of courage and love, scandal and deceit, communists and capitalists, speakeasies and teetotalers. I’ll tell you how John D Rockefeller Sr. made the greatest fortune in history, and how his son Junior tried to give it all away. You’ll hear how Junior personally funded the largest private real estate development in history during the Great Depression creating thousands of jobs for desperate workers. You’ll also discover why Junior refused to enter the center through its side doors. As you make your way around the plaza, I’ll point out the famous skating rink, the British Empire Building, and Palazzo De Italia, where you’ll learn the link between Mussolini’s downfall and spaghetti. I’ll also reveal how Rockefeller Center became the global epicenter of Christmas, and the location for famous holiday movies. Along the way, you will: • Decode the secret allegories hidden in some of the world’s greatest Art Deco masterpieces, many with communist themes, including La Maison Francaise • Raise a glass to the Irish bartenders who declared, ”no son-of-a-bitchin’ Rockefeller is gonna tear down my bar!”...and won • Learn how the famous Channel Gardens got their name • Hear why the iconic golden statue of Prometheus is nicknamed, “Leaping Louie” • Meet Atlas, the famous humanist statue and decide for yourself whether he really does looks like Mussolini • Imagine yourself in the audience on the opening night of Radio City Music Hall, one of the greatest flops of all time • Discover why the Army posted guards under the stage of the Music Hall to protect military technology • Duck into Magnolia Bakery, once a prohibition-era speakeasy called Hurley’s You’ll also get the inside scoop on how artist Diego Rivera pulled a fast one on the Rockefellers, leading to one of the greatest scandals in art history. And, to top it off, I’ll give you a tour of 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s 15 amazing murals! By the end of this 90-minute tour, you’ll have a unique appreciation for the popular and iconic attraction.