The Legendary Rainbow Room Reopens in NYC

Courtesy of Rebecca Davis/NBC News
Courtesy of Rebecca Davis/NBC News

The Rainbow Room has reopened yesterday, after having been closed for five years due to a landlord-tenant dispute. The legendary venue has been lovingly restored, and will once again sparkle above the New York City skyline. The space, which is located on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, was granted landmark status by the city two years ago. Icons who have made appearances at the Rainbow over the years include Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Armstrong, Al Pacino, Barbra Streisand, Cole Porter, Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Muhammad Ali, and Tony Bennett, among many others.

The recent renovations were orchestrated by architect Michael Gabellini and executive architect Montroy Anderson DeMarco of Gabellini Sheppard Associates. They worked to restore aspects of the nightclub’s original 1934 design, such as the brass railings and crystal bollards, and also enlarged the windows as much as 25 percent.

Gabellini Sheppard Associates are no strangers to the neighborhood, seeing as the firm recently designed the new cocktail lounge adjacent to the Rainbow Room, called SixtyFive. This space offers guests the unique chance to sip drinks outside, lounging upon a terrace that was previously vacant.

Believe it or not, the Rainbow Room’s famous rotating dance floor was actually refurbished by the grandson of the man who installed it in 1934. The antiquated metal technology was upgraded to rubber wheels, which make the spinning spectacle a quiet one. If that bit of history doesn’t give you chills, then the fact that they found confetti from the 1940s when they lifted up the dance floor should do it.

“It was amazing,” said Keith Douglas of the discovery. Douglas is a managing director of the real estate company that owns and operates Rockefeller Center, Tishman Speyer. “Michael really envisions Rockefeller Center being a steamliner that’s kind of charging through New York City, and this is the very top of the ship,” he said.

In honor of the Rainbow Room’s grand reopening, executive chef Jonathan Wright prepared a spread of delicacies that included herb-roasted Amish chicken, oysters, shrimp, honey-baked Benton ham, Yorkshire pudding, and chicken and black truffle pot pies. As workers rushed around and prepared to wow the guests, Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra (of the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island) began testing the microphones. The first official performance in the renewed Rainbow Room has been bestowed upon The Roots, who will take the stage tonight at 8pm. You can learn more about the venue and the upcoming shows here.