Radio City Music Hall opened December 27, 1932, not long after the stock market crash of 1929. At the time the area was held by John D. Rockefeller, a $91 million dollar, 24 year lease on the Manhattan property which was known as the “speak easy belt”. His idea was to build a Metropolitan Opera House, but due to the economy of the time it failed. He, then, decided to build an entire complex of buildings that were so superior it would attract many commercial tenants. He searched for a commercial partner to help in this endeavor and he found it in a large company of the time known as Radio Corporation of America or better known today as RCA.
Along the way, Rockefeller and RCA found a man named S.L. Rothafel who was a theatrical genius of the time. Together, Rockefeller, RCA, and Rothafel came up with an idea of a theater like no other that was the first project completed in the complex. They designed it as a palace for the people. A palace of beauty, offering high quality entertainment at prices ordinary people could afford. They named it Radio City Hall.
Donald Deskey was the interior designer. He designed more than thirty spaces including eight lounges and smoking rooms. Each had a general theme which was a stunning tribute to human achievement in art, science and industry. It was considered a masterpiece of American modernist design. A reporter said, “ It has been said of the new music hall that it needs no performers”. Remaining as the largest indoor theater in the world, it’s auditorium measures 160 feet from the back to the stage and a height of 84 feet. It also boasts a shimmering gold curtain... [continues]
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