Although the decade began with the death of Rockefeller Center founder John D. Rockefeller Jr., his legendary philanthropic ways endured. With the rise of the Cold War, Rockefeller Center initiated a shelter program, stocking their basements with supplies. Also, after the 1963 Christmas Tree had spent three weeks on holiday display, its 60 feet of Norway wood was donated to a Boy Scout troop.
Rockefeller’s dreams of entertainment continued to proliferate throughout the sixties as Radio City set show attendance and long run records for Bye, Bye Birdie and The Odd Couple respectively.
And as wait lists to rent at Rockefeller Center rapidly grew, developers decided to expand the complex west to Sixth Avenue, landmarking even more of midtown Manhattan.
Discover more year-to-year details about Rockefeller Center in the 1960’s here:
1960: John D. Rockefeller Jr., the founder of Rockefeller Center, dies on May 11.
1961: The Cold War, Part II: the Center initiates a fallout shelter program, stocking the basement and sub-basements with emergency supplies.
1962: Rockefeller Center renews its ground lease with Columbia University, owner of the land beneath the buildings.
1963: The film version of Bye, Bye Birdie sets a new attendance record at Radio City Music Hall: 165,225 in a single week.
1964: This year’s Christmas Tree has more than 7,000 lights and six miles of electrical wiring.
1965: The ceiling of Radio City Music Hall is regilded for the first time since its opening.
1966: The U.S. Passport Office at 630 Fifth Avenue processes 1800 applications in a single day.
1967: Rockefeller Center is “110% rented” – that is, applicants on the waiting list have already requested space amounting to ten percent of the Center’s total inventory.
1968: The Odd Couple sets the record for longest run at Radio City Music hall – 14 weeks.
1969: Shortly after midnight on November 11, a terror bomb detonates on the 20th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza; no one is injured.