December 26, 1932
Radio City Music Hall Opened to the Public in New York
Ever hear of the famous New York City precision dance team, the “Rockettes?” New York’s Radio City Music Hall is famous not only for great acts like the Rockettes, but also for its fabulous Art Deco design. This stunning theater opened its doors to the public on December 27, 1932. Starting in 1933, you could go there to see “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” a New York Christmas tradition.
Now you can see a number of shows there or just go inside to admire the design by Donald Desky. The interior incorporates glass, aluminum, chrome, and geometric ornamentation for a contemporary Art Deco look.
Looking up from the seats of the Radio City Music Hall, you see before you the Great Stage, measuring 66 feet deep, 144 feet wide, and resembling a setting sun. The stage’s system of elevators was so advanced that the U.S. Navy used identical hydraulics in constructing World War II aircraft carriers. According to Radio City lore, during the war government agents guarded the basement to make sure no enemy spy could steal the Navy’s superior technology.
The Radio City Music Hall is part of Rockefeller Center, a 12-acre complex in midtown Manhattan developed between 1929 and 1940 by business tycoon John D. Rockefeller Jr. He leased the land from Columbia University. Rockefeller initially planned an opera house on the site, but changed his mind after the stock market crash of 1929. One of the complex’s first tenants was the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), hence the names “Radio City” and “Radio City Music Hall.” If you’re ever in New York, take in a show or take a peek into the famous Radio City Music Hall.