This year’s ice skating season at Rockefeller Center will be cut short, and it’s not because of the pandemic.
Developer Tishman Speyer, the owner of the historic Art Deco complex, is moving ahead with its long-planned renovation of the complex’s sunken plaza, which holds the rink during the holiday season, and the underground shopping concourse, the New York Times reported.
The famous ice skating rink will open on Nov. 21 and end its season on Jan. 17, with the number of skaters limited to maintain proper social distancing. Tickets will go on sale Nov. 12, according to the Times.
After the rink closes in January, the renovation project will begin. The goal is to “democratize” the area, Rob Speyer, president and CEO of the company, told the Times.
“We want to make it completely accessible to people,” Speyer said.
Until recently, concourse restaurants occupied the north and south sides of the link, giving front-row seats to those who can pay for the privilege. But those restarutans are now gone, and with the renovation, all the concourse around the sunken plaza will become accessible by the public, according to the Times.
The existing windows surrounding the plaza will be replaced to bring more natural light into the concourse, according to the project architect, Gabellini Sheppard Associates.
The staircase to the plaza will be modified to encourage people to flow down to the sunken plaza, and the granite John D. Rockefeller Credo plaque will be relocated. Those changes have been decried by preservationists who believe they’re an unnecessary commercial gesture, according to the Times.
The normally bustling complex — popular with tourists, and a hub of office activity — has been impacted by the pandemic, with office occupancy only at 13 percent, according to a Tishman spokesperson.
[NYT] — Akiko Matsuda