Rainbow Room


1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, United States

Wallace K. Harrison (Associated Architects)

Elena Bachman Schmidt

BUILT 1934

RESTORED BY Gabellini Sheppard



Eastern section of the 65th floor interior, consisting of the fixtures and interior components of this space, including but not limited to, the walls and ceiling surfaces, floor surfaces, rotating wood dance floor, stairs, stage, seating platforms, glass panel screens, chandeliers, wall sconces, and window frames


Excerpt from Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report:

“The Commission further finds that, among its important qualities, the Rainbow Room survives as one of the few remaining early 20th-century nightclubs in New York City; that since opening on October 3, 1934, it has been an elegant supper club, a place to dine, dance, and enjoy incomparable views; that it is located at the east end of the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza; that it was designed by the Associated Architects, who served as architect of the building; that Wallace K. Harrison, a member of the firm Corbett Harrison & McMurray, acted as lead architect, working with the interior decorator Elena Bachman Schmidt; that in the building’s original design this double-height space was conceived as a single volume, without columns; that the 24 windows are some of the largest in the building; that construction began shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in early 1934 and was completed by September 1934; that the general style is Streamlined Modern, with calculated neo-classical flourishes; that Harrison’s scheme was influenced by the work of Joseph Urban, who designed many Manhattan nightclubs during this period, as well as works by the German architect Erich Mendelsohn, which Harrison visited during a 1931 trip to Europe; that guests originally entered the room from the northwest corner, descending wide steps that lead towards a circular dance floor and domed ceiling; that the almost square room had a capacity of more than 300 persons and many were seated on tiered platforms located around the perimeter; that the chandeliers and wall sconces were fabricated in Manhattan by Edward F. Caldwell & Company; that the Rainbow Room has always generated considerable attention from the media and has served as a fashionable setting for musical and dance performances, private parties, charity balls, scholarship drives and award ceremonies; that during business hours it functioned as the Rockefeller Luncheon Club, which drew members from the surrounding office complex; that Hugh Hardy, of Hardy Holzmann Pfeiffer, supervised a thoughtful renovation in 1987 that preserved many historic features; and that this rare example of Streamlined Modern design retains many of its original characteristics and remains one of New York City’s most elegant and elevated restaurant interiors.”

LPC Designation Reports

Photograph courtesy of The Rainbow Room