GE Building in New York City

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The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in the midtown Manhattan section of New York City. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the headquarters of the television network NBC. At 850 feet (259 m) tall, the 70-story building is the 10th tallest building in New York City and the 33rd tallest in the United States. Some of the building's nicknames include The Slab and 30 Rock. The latter is derived from its address which is at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.


The building was completed in 1933 as part of the Rockefeller Center. The noted Art Deco architect Raymond Hood led a team of Rockefeller architects. It was named the RCA Building for its main tenant, the Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919 by General Electric. It was the first building constructed with the elevators grouped in the central core. During construction, photographer Charles Clyde Ebbets took the famous photograph Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper on the 69th floor. National Broadcasting Company, also owned by General Electric, leased space in the building.

The office of the Rockefeller family occupied Room 5600 on the 56th floor. This space is now occupied by Rockefeller Family & Associates, spanning between the 54th floor and the 56th floor of the building. In 1985, the building acquired official landmark status. The RCA Building was renamed as the GE Building in 1988, two years after General Electric re-acquired the RCA Corporation.

The GE Building is one of the most famous and recognized skyscrapers in New York. The frieze located above the main entrance was executed by Lee Lawrie and depicts "Wisdom", along with a slogan that reads "Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy times", from Isaiah 33:6 (KJV). The vertical detailing of the building's austere Art Deco facade is integrated with a slim, functionally expressive form. The present exterior is recognized for the large GE letters at the building's top. The famous marquee above the building's entrance is seen on numerous television shows, such as 30 Rock and Seinfeld. Unlike most other tall Art Deco buildings constructed in the 1930s, the GE Building has no spire on its roof.

The building's nickname has become the title of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which follows the cast and crew of a fictional television show filmed inside the building. The television show uses the building for exterior shots while interior shots are filmed at Silvercup Studios in Queens.

KWO35, the NOAA Weather Radio station for the majority of the Tri-State area, transmits from atop the GE Building at 162.55 MHz.

Below the building is a shopping concourse, connected to the lobby via an escalator. The open lobby's rich materials and reduced black and beige ornamental scheme is enhanced by dramatic lighting. Granite covers the building base to a height of 4 feet (1.2 m), and the shaft has a refined facade of Indiana Limestone with aluminum spandrel panels.

The 65th floor of the GE Building was an event room and restaurant named the Rainbow Room. It was revamped and reopened to the public with new operators until it closed in 2009 due to the economic downturn.

NBC Studios

The building is well known for housing the headquarters of NBC and the New York facilities of NBC Studios. In 1996, NBC bought the 1600000 sqft of space it had leased since 1933. The purchase allowed the company to introduce new technologies and renovate the space; it also gave them options to renew the lease on the Today Show studios, broadcast from a nearby building, 10 Rockefeller Plaza. NBC owns floors 1-30 & 50-59. The office of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, is located on the 51st floor of the GE Building.

The building's studios include Studio 8H, the home of Saturday Night Live. Studio 8H was once the largest radio studio in the world, originally home to the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. It was converted into a television studio in 1950. The Tonight Show was also taped at the GE Building in Studio 6-B from the early Jack Paar years until 1972, when the show moved to Burbank, California. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon now occupies the former Tonight Show space. During its run, Rosie O'Donnell broadcast her syndicated talk show from the building.

NBC Studio productions

Studio Production Notes Floor
1A The Today Show,
Dateline NBC
The network's daily morning program is produced at a ground-level windowed studio across 49th Street from the GE Building since the mid-1990s, at 10 Rockefeller Plaza; it was previously broadcast from inside the skyscraper. Studio 1A is a multilevel studio currently used for multiple shows including the studio segments of Dateline NBC. Countdown was used 2nd floor of 1A. The studio was also used by WNBC's Live at Five and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. WNBC, which used temporarily in October 1996 due to a fire in 6B, and NBC Nightly News for a short period during decontamination of the broadcast's facilities and offices in October 2001 due to the 2001 anthrax attacks. Ground floor
2K MSNBC Secondary HD Control Room Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to MSNBC programs. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects control room 2K and studio floor 3A. 2nd floor
3A MSNBC main studios and headquarters Debuted October 22, 2007, and is the home to many MSNBC programs including the main news desk where MSNBC Live and other MSNBC programs are shot. An MSNBC/NBC News Newsroom connects Studio 3A and Studio 3C. Former home of NBC Nightly News. 3rd floor
3B Rock Center with Brian Williams
NBC Nightly News
Former home of the Huntley-Brinkley Report, The Doctors, the Today Show, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, and coverage of the 2008 presidential election 3rd floor
3C (Undergoing Renovations) Formerly home of NBC Nightly News from 1999-October 23, 2011, however the studio's size was decreased significantly during a 2007 renovation. This studio is currently being renovated and expanded into the former Studio 3H to become the studio for WNBC, the network's flagship station.<ref name=fny-wnbc3c /> 3rd floor
Experimental Television The first studio in the building to be converted for Television production, being converted in 1935 and served as NBC Television's lone studio until the conversion of Studio 8G in 1948. 3H was adjacent to Studio 3C. This studio has been decommissioned since the early 1960s and served as scenery storage for a number of decades. A portion or all of this area is being used to expand Studio 3C for it's future use as WNBC's studio. 3rd floor
3K Early Today/The Ed Show/The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell Former home of NBC Nightly News, NBC Sports, The Today Show, and The Howdy Doody Show, green screen room for coverage of 2008 presidential election result program for NBC News/MSNBC. 3rd floor
NBC News Emergency "Flash" Studio A small studio used for breaking news bulletins during the Huntley-Brinkley Era. Most notably, network coverage regarding the John F. Kennedy assassination originated from this studio. 5th floor
6A The Dr. Oz Show A former home of Twenty One, The Tomorrow Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and NBC Radio Network programs from 1933 to the 1950s. 6A was the first 30 Rock studio to be converted for high definition television. 6th floor
6B Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Howdy Doody (1947–1960). Also the original home of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar and NBC Nightly News. Former home for the news studio for flagship station WNBC. 6th floor
6C NBC Digital Studios The current home of such web based shows as "The Untitled News Comedy Show", "Starstruck", and "A Big Life with Sissy Biggers". Was previously home to a small set for WNBC as well as WNBC's Master control. 6th floor
6E Global Media Insert Studios [1] Former home of Early Today and MSNBC secondly studio (Ed Show home and Breaking News coverage), called as "Newsnooks". This space was previously a portion of WNBC's Master Control. 6th floor
7E WNBC News/New York Nonstop The current home of the news studio for WNBC-TV, the network's flagship station. This studio is the newest studio in the building, being constructed inside an old conference room during 2008.7th floor
8A (Unknown) A "Studio 8A" is marked on an official drawing of the 8th floor of the building. Judging by the surrounding area, this studio was likely used for audio recording. It's possible this studio was converted to television studio 8B. 8th floor
8B Decision 2010 Coverage This studio was used for coverage of the 2010 Midterm Elections. 8th floor
8G Football Night in America/NBC SportsDesk A former radio studio converted for Television use in 1948 and went on air April 22 of that year. Former home of The Phil Donahue Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Caroline Rhea Show, and The Jane Pauley Show, as well as the original "Concentration" and Jeopardy! which recorded their color episodes on alternating days/weeks from 1964 to 1975. NBC Nightly News used this studio during the 2007 renovations of NBC News headquarters, except on some Sunday evenings where, due to football programming, the news was broadcast from Studio 1A. This studio has also been used for Decision 2008 and Decision 2010 election night coverage. 8th floor
8H Saturday Night LiveFormer home of Last Call with Carson Daly
Former home of Later with Bob Costas
Former home of the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini
Used for offsite coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics
Used for the Live Show episode of 30 Rock
8th floor
Exterior 30 Rock Exteriors of the building and scenes which are filmed on location are filmed outside GE Building as well as various other locations at Rockefeller Plaza. Interiors are filmed at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Queens. Ground

The building is also the headquarters for Bravo, Chiller, MSNBC, Oxygen, Syfy, Cloo, Universal HD and USA Network. CNBC and CNBC World are headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Observation deck

The observation deck atop the skyscraper, dubbed "Top of the Rock", reopened to the public on November 1, 2005, after undergoing a $75 million renovation. It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room. The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. It is often considered the best panoramic city view, if only because it offers a view of the aforementioned Empire State Building, which cannot be seen from its own observation deck.

The "Top of the Rock" had also been co-opted for NBC's Sunday Night Football during the 2006–07 season, with the top player/MVP in that night's game according to John Madden and Al Michaels receiving the honor of being that night's "Rock Star" in the form of a glass trophy display on the observation deck; this was a replacement for the Horse Trailer Award formerly awarded on ABC's Monday Night Football. The Horse Trailer honor was restored for the 2007–08 season.

See also

  • Architecture of New York City
  • Original General Electric Building (1931, built as the RCA Victor Building)
  • List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Manhattan
  • List of tallest buildings in New York City
  • List of tallest buildings in the United States
  • Rainbow Room a restaurant on the 65th floor of the GE building

Further reading

External links