‘Tis the season for tradition, and there’s no NYC landmark that’s more closely associated with one of the City’s longest-running holiday rites of passage than Rockefeller Center that first started on Christmas Eve in 1931 while the complex was under construction. Then, a group of construction workers erected a 20-foot tree on the site to celebrate the holidays. Two years later, Rockefeller Center held the first official tree lighting ceremony inviting the public, and today the tradition continues with the annual lighting of tree.
Rockefeller Center was designed as a private commercial enterprise in the height of the Great Depression. After its completion it was noted for its unparalleled achievement in modern urban planning. Acclaimed by I.M. Pei as “the most successful open space in the United States, perhaps the world.” Designed by a architects Corbett Harrison & MacMurray, Hood Goodley & Fouilhoux, Henry Hofmeiser, L. Andrew Reinhard it was designated a New York City Landmark in 1985.