During the economic downturn in 2009, the legendary Rainbow Room towards the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan shut its doors. But the colorful dinner and dance hall will re-open next fall with a nice renovation — at least for those who can afford those expensive plates.
And there will be plenty of new reasons to check out the new and improved Rainbow Room. With the re-opening, the new outlay will include an outdoor terrace looking out on the concrete jungle of New York City, as well as a bar-lounge combo open to the public five nights a week. But its core room will mostly be for its private diners, likely with some hot-shot musicians, building off of its history of featuring performers like Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett back in the day.
The Rainbow Room had been a mainstay of upper-class New York since it opened toward the end of Prohibition in 1934. The name comes from the lighting effects of the floor and a large color organ that synchronizes with the musical beats. It originally cost $3.50 for dinner — which comes out to about $61 in inflation-adjusted 2013 money — a significant sum for a family in the midst of the Great Depression. Those prices have only gone up, though, and dinner for two cost about $600 back in 2009. With this new renovation and reopening, that will probably be near the same, if not more.
A tenant-landlord disagreement and economic struggles forced its closure that year, but the room has been on a slowly bubbling rise since. It was granted landmark status in New York in 2012 as it epitomized the best of New York, and the revamp of the room will be undertaken by Elizabeth Blau, one of the key figures behind the culinary rise of Las Vegas.
With its location at 30 Rock, NBC execs and actors will likely be pleased. And with its high-class clientele, it's a place Jack Donaghy could only adore.
(Photo of NBC Studios: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)