The Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Center - New York City (photo: Rainbow Room)
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The Rainbow Room

49 West 49th Street
30 Rockefeller Plaza – 65th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10112
http://www.rainbowroom.com
           
The Rainbow Room, an Art Deco-style restaurant and nightclub located on the sixty-fifth floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, opened on October 3, 1934. It was named for the lighting effects from a floor made of 360 glass blocks under which are more than 2,600 red, green, blue, and amber lights. A color organ synchronized the lights with music from the elaborate custom-made pipe organ while patrons danced on a revolving floor to the strains of legendary big bands. Over the years, singers and performers such as Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, and Tony Bennett have entertained dinner guests at the legendary Manhattan hotspot. From its opening day, the Rainbow Room has epitomized Manhattan luxury to both native New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. In 1998, control of the restaurant passed to the Italian Cipriani family, which started Harry's Bar in Venice.

30 Rockefeller Center, which has 71 floors and is 872 feet tall, is the largest building of the Rockefeller Center complex. Originally named for its largest tenant, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the building today is known as "30 Rock" or the G.E. (General Electric) building, and is headquarters for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller Jr., who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928 and developed it between 1929 and 1940. Raymond Hood was the principal architect of the complex.
           
Ray Bohr at the Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 2185 (1934) in the Radio City Rainbow Room (Rockefeller Center) - New York City (photo: courtesy Jeff Weiler)
Ray Bohr at the Rainbow Room console
Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 2185 (1934)
Electro-pneumatic action
Style R16: 3 manuals, 10 ranks
Two straight-bolster consoles; automatic player
           
In 1934, the contract was signed for a Wurlitzer Style R16 organ to be installed in the Rainbow Room on the 65th Floor of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. The organ was designed to be played and heard in both the Rainbow Room and a private dining room on the 70th floor. Two straight-bolster consoles (one in Modernistic style) and a player controlled the 10-rank instrument, which was undoubtedly the highest installation for any Wurlitzer organ. In 1954, the organ was moved and reinstalled in the Joe Oelhaf Residence in New York; it later was moved to the Lee Hulko Residence in New Hope, PA, who, in 1999, donated the organ to the Senior Citizen facility in Rahway, NJ, where it was installed by members and crews from the Garden State Theatre Organ Society.
           
Pedal – 32 notes
16
  Bass
8
  Cello
16
  Bourdon
8
  Flute
8
  Tuba
8
  Dulciana
8
  Diapason     Accomp. to Pedal
8
  Tibia Clausa     Great to Pedal
8
  Clarinet     Solo to Pedal

   

   
Accompaniment (Manual I) –- 61 notes
16
  Contra Viol [TC]
4
  Piccolo
8
  Tuba
4
  Salicet
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Octave Celeste
8
  Clarinet
4
  Flute
8
  Oboe Horn
4
  Vox Humana
8
  Salicional
4
  Dulcet
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
 
  Chrysoglott
8
  Flute
 
  Solo Sub Accomp.
8
  Vox Humana
 
  Solo Unison Accomp.
8
  Dulciana
 
  Solo Octave Accomp.
4
  Octave
 
   

   

   
Great (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Tibia Clausa [TC]
8
  Dulciana
16
  Oboe Horn [TC]
4
  Octave
16
  Contra Viol [TC]
4
  Piccolo
16
  Bourdon
4
  Salicet
8
  Tuba
4
  Octave Celeste
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Flute
8
  Tibia Clausa
4
  Dulcet
8
  Clarinet
2 2/3
  Twelfth
8
  Oboe Horn     Cathedral Chimes
8
  Salicional
 
  Chrysoglott
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
 
  Solo Sub Great
8
  Flute
 
  Solo Unison Great
8
  Vox Humana
 
  Solo Octave Great

   

   
Solo (Manual III) – 61 notes
16
  Tuba
4
  Octave
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Piccolo
8
  Tibia Clausa
4
  Salicet
8
  Clarinet
4
  Flute
8
  Oboe Horn
2 2/3
  Twelfth
8
  Salicional
2
  Piccolo
8
  Flute     Cathedral Chimes
8
  Vox Humana      

   

   
Tremulants: Main, Solo, Vox Humana
 
Combinations: 5 thumb pistons to each manual
 
Console of the Wurlitzer Organ, Op. 2185 (1934) in the Radio City Rainbow Room (Rockefeller Center) - New York City (photo: courtesy Jeff Weiler)
Console photo taken at
the Wurlitzer Factory
           
Sources:
     Garden State Theatre Organ Society web site: http://www.gstos.org
     Junchen, David L., comp. and ed. by Jeff Weiler. The WurliTzer Pipe Organ – An Illustrated History. Chicago: The American Theatre Organ Society, 2005.
     Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1995.
     The Rainbow Room web site: http://www.rainbowroom.com/

Illustrations:
     Jeif Weiler. Console photos