30 Rockefeller Plaza opened in 1933. The 70-story limestone skyscraper has towered over mid-town Manhattan as a symbol of capitalism and of a prolific American family synonymous with extraordinary wealth ever since. Family patriarch, John D. Rockefeller, was America’s first billionaire. His son, John Jr., broke ground for the iconic building in the midst of the Great Depression.
Now, the Rockefellers have decided to leave the building entirely. By this time next year they will vacate the 56th floor they have occupied since 1933 and move into much smaller and plainer quarters across the street. Perhaps the country’s greatest dynastic family is downsizing. The family has donated countless millions of dollars to charity over the years.
A co-owner of the building (to whom the Rockefellers sold 30 Rock and nine other office buildings in 2000) stated, “I would be surprised if they weren’t worried about rent.”
If so, that is depressing. If the big, swaggering business moguls of the past are hurting, what chance do the rest of us have? This seems sadly symbolic of the setting sun that is America.