Radio City Music Hall, New York City
Although New York City has more than its share of great places to visit, my favorite is one a little less heralded than the rest. A part of the Rockefeller Complex, it houses the largest indoor theater in the world. The Radio City Music Hall provides top notch celebrity entertainment as well as a special Christmas show which features the world famous Rockettes, a precision dance team. Currently for June, 2014, Willie Nelson and Aretha Franklin are among the celebs headlining the show bill.
After the stock market crashed in 1929, John D. Rockefeller Jr. surveyed the property in midtown Manhattan in which he had invested 91million dollars for a twenty four year lease. He was shocked and saddened by the general squalor of the area which was also known as “the speak easy belt”. These were places that served and sold illegal alcoholic beverages. Because of prohibition, a password was required to enter, thus the name “speak easy”. He vowed to improve the neighborhood by building a complex that would draw commercial businesses and provide jobs for the locals. The failing economy forced him to forgo his original plans for a new Metropolitan Opera House. Instead, he would build a palace for the people.
“The people’s palace” was to provide a place of beauty that offered high quality entertainment and also would be affordable to the ordinary folk of the neighborhood. The interior was designed by Donald Deskey. Besides the main theater and Grand Foyer, there were eight lounges and smoking rooms, each a tribute to the “human achievement” in the arts, science, or industry. Later it was renamed “The Radio City Music Hall” by the head of RCA, David Sarnoff.
The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, an annual presentation, features spectacular synchronized dancing by the world famous Rockettes. For more than eighty years, these talented high kickers have thrilled audiences with their incredibly perfect precision dancing. The eight week show has been a near sell-out since its first presentation in 1933.
One of the first questions asked by viewers of the show is “How did they find so many girls of the same height?” They didn’t. The thirty six young ladies range between 5’10” and 5’5″ in height. The taller ones are in the middle, graduating down towards the shortest on the ends, giving the illusion that all are the same height.
If you go, never carry money, credit cards or other valuables in your jacket pockets and avoid carrying shoulder strap purses. You may think that you were accidently jostled on the crowded street, only to find that you have been the victim of a pick-pocket. Some of them are so smooth that you never suspect a thing until you reach for that credit card or money and find it gone.