The GE Building touches the Manhattan clouds—a fine example of art deco design. The skyscraper is more than a landmark of the New York City skyline. It’s also the home of the National Broadcast Company and many of its signature shows, plus the Top of the Rock of the Rock observation attraction.
The GE Building has been known by other names since it was built in 1933, a part of the project that created Rockefeller Center. Sometimes it’s called by its nickname 30 Rock, which was the setting of the Tina Fey-Alec Baldwin sitcom. The centerpiece building of Rockefeller Center was called the RCA building until the 1980s, named for the company that started the National Broadcasting Company and GE owned for decades.
But time marched on and GE was no longer the owner of NBC, which could lead to a name change. Currently, it’s still called the GE Building, even though Comcast took ownership of the network. The new regime also brought about a major renovation for each floor of the 70-story building—one of the 40 tallest buildings in the United States.
NBC’s headquarters remain a popular destination for fans of TV shows. Whether you’re sitting in the audience of Saturday Night Live, standing outside the Today Show, or laughing along with the Tonight Show, it’s quite a thrill to be a part of the making of television. America’s Got Talent also performs in front of audiences, as does the Late Show. Tickets may be hard to come by for some of the studio audiences, but they are possible to get with some planning and luck.
If you want to be sure to have access to 30 Rock, there are many ways to go about it. You could make reservations for Sunday brunch at the Rainbow Room, the elegant restaurant on the 65th floor of the tower. It also opens on Monday night for live music and formal dinners, and there’s a cocktail lounge called, quite simply, SixtyFive.
When renovations are not going in the way, the NBC Studio Tour showcases 30 Rock from an insider’s view. This has been a tradition ever since the network got started back in the ‘30s. NBC pages are eager to swap stories of the network that brought the world Bob Hope specials, Johnny Carson talk shows, Cheers, Seinfeld, and tons of other "Must-See" TV shows.
Tour guides lead the groups through the GE Building, showing off the makeup room, and interactive control studio, and the NBC Sharp Globe Theater. Those who have taken the tour before will want to make plans to return again, since the tour was refreshed along with the major renovations that made the GE Building better than ever.
Another way to explore the GE building is from the Top of the Rock. The observation attraction, perched on the building’s top floors, is an amazing place for soaking in the views of Manhattan and well beyond. Long before the tour, the experience begins with the elegant lobby and the elegant light instillation, the Joie Chandelier. From there, visitors get the chance to see the history exhibit and movie on the mezzanine level before zooming to the Top of the Rock.
It takes less than a minute to get up to the top—but everything looks different from the top. There’s both indoor and outdoor viewing on the top levels, plus art and interactive exhibits to enjoy along with the views of the skyline by day or night.