Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Crowning the entrance of 30 Rockefeller Center sits a concrete relief of Zeus over the inscription –“Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times”; on top of the god’s shoulders rest (like Atlas’s Globe) the immense 71-story GE Building, towering 872-feet into the sky while Zeus reaches down to those craning their necks below. Tourists and shoppers capture photos of their children, framed in front of a falling and gilded Prometheus. The deity smirks at smiling faces from graceful ice-skaters, unaffected by the violently flapping flags that outline this sunken plaza.
Beyond the carefree whims of these proud celebrants flashes the scrolling red letters of an NBC news wire…Five Dead in Car Bomb Attack…UK releases scathing environmental report…Such headlines don’t appear to affect those sipping lattes in Dean and Deluca or bustling in and out of one Gap to the next Banana Republic; after all, troubling events and fleeting words, eventually, blur together to become the same thing –unfortunate distractions.
Rockefeller Center isn’t my favorite place in New York; after all, I loathe the wasteful and religiously inspired holiday pageantry, its usually teeming with out-of-towners, and how can I ever forget the cold wind that blew through this blue concrete canyon on that remarkably red November 3rd, 2004? Moreover, I’ve always held a certain reservation for the Rockefeller’s treatment of Diego Rivera’s never-completed painting “Man at the Crossroads.” Nevertheless, despite its audacious idealism, incredible contradictions, and foreboding modern design; “the rock” remains one of Manhattan’s more inspiring landscapes.