Historic Rainbow Room reopens high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza

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Historic Rainbow Room reopens high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza
Central Park and buildings in midtown Manhattan are seen from the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
NBC STUDIOS: RADIO CITY NEW YORK -- Pictured: Marquee at the ground-level entrance for NBC Studios Radio City and The Rainbow Room located at Rockefeller Center, New York, NY in the late 1960s -- Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 16: The Actress Ginger Rogers Dining With The Billionaire Aviator And Producer Howard Hughes, Her Partner At The Time, At The Rainbow Room In The Rockefeller Center In New York On September 14, 1936. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
The Rainbow Room, located on the sixty-fifth floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, is shown in this undated photo. The restaurant made its debut on Oct. 3, 1934. (AP Photo)
Andy Williams and children during RFK Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament Reception at Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 22: Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Muhammad Ali (left) and Joe Frazier (right) shake hands with Don King (center) during press conference at the Rainbow Room. (Photo By: James McGrath/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
To kick off the Summer Festival are actress Lauren Bacall, left, and singer- trumpeter Louis Armstrong at the Rainbow Room in New York's Rockefeller Center on June 11, 1970. The pair was among celebrities on hand to hear about a celebration of music and cultural programs in the city all summer long. Miss Bacall recently won the Tony award for her role in Broadway musical, "Applause." .(AP Photo/ Marty Lederhandler)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 25: Actor Walter Huston receiving award at Movie Critics' dinner in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Ted Kennedy and the media during RFK Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament Reception at Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Professional dancers waltzing in a show at the Rainbow Room above Rockefeller Center. (Photo by Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Entrants waltzing in a contest at the Rainbow Room above Rockefeller Center. (Photo by Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A couple waltzing at the Rainbow Room above Rockefeller Center. (Photo by Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
John DeLorean and Cristine Ferarre during RFK Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament Reception at Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actor Harrison Ford and his wife Melissa Matheson arrive at the Rainbow Room in New York's Rockefeller Center, June 25, 1991, for a party following the premiere of his new film, "Regarding Henry," directed by Mike Nichols. (AP Photo/Luiz Ribeiro)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 17: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, actress Julia Louise-Dreyfus, and actor Michael Richards attend the DVD Release Party for the first three seasons of 'Seinfeld' held on November 17, 2004 at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, New York City. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images)
Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington during 58th Annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards at Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
A nighttime view of the illuminated marque of the NBC Studios and the Rainbow Room located in the General Electric (GE) Building (at 30 Rockerfeller Center on West 50th Street between Avenue of the Americas and 5th Avenue), Midtown Manhattan, New York, May 27, 2013. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)
An emotional Dale DeGroff, beverage manager of New York's Rainbow Room bar, takes a last look Thursday, Dec. 17, 1998, at the bar two nights before it's scheduled closing. First opened in October of 1934, the restaurant and the adjoining bar and cabaret on the 65th floor of the central skyscraper in New York's Rockefeller Center closed to the public after business Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett)
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 1998 file photo, guests at New York's Rainbow Room dance on the revolving floor of the restaurant and nightclub. Closed in 2009 amid a landlord-tenant dispute, the iconic club at Rockefeller Center will reopen in the fall of 2014. Tishman Speyer, which operates Rockefeller Center, made the reopening announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 12: General view during 'A Salute To Our troops' ceremony hosted by Microsoft Corporation and the United Service Organizations (USO) at Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room on November 12, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Getty Images for Microsoft)
Friends Matthew Eisentraut, left, and Jamie Greenwald pose for a photograph with a view of the Empire State Building, center, in the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
One World Trade Center and the lower Manhattan skyline are seen from the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of the city and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A table is set for brunch at the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A chef prepares food before lunchtime guests arrive at the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room reopened Sunday after a five-year absence. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The Empire State Building and the Manhattan skyline are seen from the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of the city and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Chefs prepare a lavish spread of food before lunchtime guests arrive at the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room reopened Sunday after a five-year absence. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
A chef puts on his toque as he prepares to serve food at the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room reopened Sunday after a five-year absence. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR TISHMAN SPEYER - Guests enjoy the opening of the historic Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Tishman Speyer/AP Images)
Chefs prepare a lavish spread of food before lunchtime guests arrive at the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room reopened Sunday after a five-year absence. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Neon lights of NBC Studios and Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, New York City, New York (Photo by Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 23: Pictures of Rockefeller Center, place where Richard Attias and Cecilia celebrated their wedding In New York, United States On March 23, 2008 - Richard Attias and Cecilia (Nicolas Sarkozy's ex-wife) got married at 19pm in the famous Rainbow Room at the 65th floor of this center of Manhattan. (Photo by Olivier SANCHEZ/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Atmosphere at the Olympus Fashion Week Spring 2005 - Holly Kristen - Runway and Front Row at The Rainbow Room - Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York. (Photo by Shane Gritzinger/FilmMagic)
Band leader Michael Arenella smiles during an interview in the Rainbow Room, New York City’s landmark restaurant atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The Rainbow Room has returned to its historic perch over New York's skyline after a five-year absence, again offering its diners sweeping views of Manhattan and beyond. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rainbow Room reopened Sunday in its historic perch atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza after a five-year absence from the New York City skyline.

"It's breathtaking," guest Jamie Greenwald, one of more than 200 brunch guests who took in the sweeping views outside and the significant improvements inside the 80-year-old establishment whose floors have been walked across by Cole Porter, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Al Pacino, Barbra Streisand and Muhammad Ali.

Herb roasted Amish chicken, oysters, shrimp, honeybaked Benton ham, Yorkshire pudding and chicken and black truffle pot pies were among dozens of delicacies awaiting the luncheon crowd in a spread created by Executive Chef Jonathan Wright.

"It's like opening night!" Keith Douglas, a managing director of the real estate company Tishman Speyer - Rockefeller Center's owner and manager - gushed as dozens of workers rushed about, putting finishing touches on the refurbished venue an hour before guests began arriving.

The sunny clear blue sky offered no chance for rainbows this day through windows that were enlarged by as much as 25 percent during an extensive renovation designed by Gabellini Sheppard Associates.

The architectural firm also created SixtyFive, a new cocktail lounge adjacent to Rainbow Room that for the first time next year when the weather warms will permit guests to order drinks on a previously vacant outdoor terrace.

Douglas said architect Michael Gabellini made sure to restore aspects of the Rainbow Room including brass railings and crystal bollards that were included in the nightclub's original design. Montroy Andersen DeMarco was the project's executive architect.

"Michael really envisions Rockefeller Center being a steamliner that's kind of charging through New York City and this is the very top of the ship," Douglas said.

The Rainbow Room closed five years ago amid a landlord-tenant dispute. Two years ago, the city granted landmark status to the iconic venue on the building's 65th floor.

Douglas said the famous rotating dance floor was refurbished by the grandson of the man who installed it in 1934. He said he replaced outdated metal technology with new rubber wheels that are "quiet as can be."

Douglas said they found confetti from the 1940s when they lifted the dance floor.

"It was amazing," he said.

As the restaurant prepared to open, Michael Arenella And His Dreamland Orchestra tested the microphones at a place that over the decades has featured music greats Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett, among many others.

Pianist Jesse Gelber was leaving, though, before the crowds arrived.

"I was told there's a piano," he said. "There's no piano."

He was not discouraged, though, saying he looks forward to returning to join the band there in the future, as he did a week ago during a trial-run performance when he said a Steinway piano awaited him.

"It's a pretty storied room," Gelber said. "Playing in a room where some of my heroes used to play is pretty cool."

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