The tumultuous decade remembered for World War II, the Great Depression’s conclusion, the commercialization of the television, the Jitterbug and the “zoot” suit also marked the completion of all of Rockefeller Center’s 14 on-site buildings.
Word certainly spread fast — by the beginning of the forties over 90% of the property was already fully occupied with eager renters. Also Rockefeller Center was now established as a community social hub. New Yorkers constantly congregated in the Channel Gardens, situated between the British Empire Building and La Maison Francaise, as something new was always happening. In 1941 Rockefeller Center transformed its promenade overnight, transplanting crab-apple trees in full fruit and over 2000 red, bronze and yellow chrysanthemum blooms in celebration of their autumn festival. On Navy Day in 1945, over 8,000 people visited the Observation Roof to view the return of the fleet on the Hudson River. Rockefeller Center was also a destination for dog shows, holiday gatherings, art exhibitions and other anticipated social events.
Discover more year-to-year details about Rockefeller Center in the 1940’s here:
1940: The Sixth Avenue subway opens for business, connected to the Rockefeller Center Concourse.
1941: Rockefeller Center is now 94% rented; total rental income exceeds $10 million.
1942: Center tenants contribute more than 100,000 pounds of thumb tacks, staplers, tin cans and other items to a scrap metal drive.
1943: The tour guide staff is now all female, due to military manpower requirements.
1944: General Charles De Gaulle visits the Observation Roof atop 30 Rock.
1945: Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony mark V-E Day with a broadcast performance of Beethoven’s Third Symphony.
1946: Rockefeller Center is fully rented; 400 potential tenants are on a waiting list.
1947: The Center’s first postwar building, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, is under construction.
1948: John D. Rockefeller Jr. transfers ownership of the Center to his five sons.
1949: On December 30, Radio City Music Hall greets the largest audience in its history — at one point, more than 11,000 people are waiting on line.