Radio City Music Hall is one of those things you know exists, but because it is in midtown and a tourist magnet, you tend to avoid like the plague. I recently had some relatives visit me that requested a tour of the hall, so I brought my camera along just in case it was cool. What I found was an amazing part of New York History, right underneath my nose.
Maybe this is common knowledge, but Radio City Music Hall is ENORMOUS, much larger than it appears from the 6th Avenue facade. It holds just over 6,000 people, and has a stage as large as ½ of a football field. With the multiple seating levels supported only by the back wall, there are no columns in the entire theater, leaving an awe-inspiring cavernous space.
Built in 1932, Radio City Music Hall is a prime example of art deco architectural style that has withstood the test of time. With tons of gold, reflective surfaces and geometric design, walking through the venue is a bit like stepping back in time. Most of the fixtures, furniture and ornamentation are original, and any replacements are exact replicas of how the theater looked 80 years ago.
The stage itself is a work of art, with 4 original hydraulic stage elevators that are recognized as engineering landmarks. They were used as a model for the hydraulic elevators on aircraft carriers during World War II, and were closed off from the public until the end of the war to protect the secrets they contained.
There are original foot-operated hand dryers in the bathroom, ornate powder rooms and 1930s era furniture throughout the multiple restrooms in the building. There are massive chandeliers, decorative trimmings, plush curtains and carpet, as well as countless pieces of fine art paintings and sculptures.
The tour lasted just an hour and a half, but it was the rare glimpse at a golden age of New York City that I won’t soon forget, even as a local.
Tickets start at just $19.95 for kids and $26.95 for adults, making a behind the scenes tour of this amazing theater a steal.
Enjoy the photo tour below!