NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York’s nighttime skyline could be in for a change.
The famous red GE sign on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (which has since 1988 been called the GE Building) could turned off or changed to Comcast.
Comcast took ownership when it bought the rest of NBCUniversal from General Electric.
WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot spoke with Thomas Rinaldi, author of “New York Neon” about the future for one of the city’s most recognizable edifices.
30 Rock, as it is often known, is a landmark building, but is there anything stopping Comcast from putting its name up there in neon.
“Well, it’s a little bit unclear. The Landmarks [Preservation] Commission would, I believe, have to approve any proposal for a change to the sign. So, it’s possible that they could re-letter the sign to read ‘Comcast’ with their logo or it’s possible that the commission might decide that they have to do something else,” Rinaldi said.
“In other signs in the city, other big roof signs comparable to this on designated landmarks, have been re-lettered. A good example is the W Hotel at Union Square, whose roof sign for many years said “Guarantee” for the Guarantee life insurance company. When it was done over into the W Hotel a few years, the Landmarks Commission allowed them to re-letter the sign and I think it looks pretty good,” he said.
Until 1988, when 30 Rock was the RCA Building, there were various signs saying “RCA” at the top.
“There was the original one that I think went up in 1937 a few years after the building opened, and then it changed when RCA instituted a new kind of more modern logo in 1969,” Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi pointed out that the law says that where these signs have existed continuously since the zoning went into effect in the 1960s, new signs can be installed if there’s been a sign there all along.
So, what’s Rinaldi’s best guess for 30 Rock? Will it go dark or will Comcast’s lights go up there?
“I sure hope something will go up there. I mean it’s a little funny to think of a cable company with kind of a modern looking logo going up on top of this Art Deco skyscraper,” he said.
What about putting “NBC” up there?
“It’s a great idea. I think NBC would look great up there,” Rinaldi said. “It’s a company that’s headquartered in the building, that has been associated with the building all along.”
He said the commission would probably allow that.
Just a note to add to all of this, not putting a Comcast sign atop 30 Rock might help to avoid confusion with the company’s headquarters building in Philadelphia – Comcast Center, which was completed in 2008.
What do you think they should do with the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza? Share your ideas below.