Ethnographic Key Findings

August 9, 2010

Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings between 48th and 51st streets and spans the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in New York City. John D. Rockefeller Jr., leased the massive space from Columbia University in 1928 and started construction in 1930 with what they originally thought was to be an Opera House for the Metropolitan Opera. This idea however fell apart after the stock market crash of 1929. Construction began on May 17, 1930 and was completed on November 1, 1939. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Presently, Rockefeller Center is a combination of two building complexes, the older and the original 14 office buildings from the 1930s, and a set of four towers built along the west side of Avenue of the Americas during the 1960s and 1970s. The newer Rockefeller Center buildings now are home to The Time-Life Building, McGraw-Hill and News Corporation/Fox News Channel headquarters, owned and managed by the Rockefeller Group.(rockefellergroup.com)

The Radio City Music Hall is also a part of Rockefeller Center and was completed in 1932. During the years of its completion it was promoted as the largest and most luxurious theater in the world. Although at first it was not successful, with the help of David Sarnoff, founder of NBC, and Samuel Roxy Rothafel, founder of the Roxy Theater Radio City Music Hall was able to get off the ground with success it would need. Radio City Music Hall was originally going to be called “International Music Hall” in the beginning but was changed however to reflect the name of its neighbor, Radio Corporation of America or RCA. RCA was one of the complex’s first and most important tenants and the entire Center. After decades as a premiere showcase for motion pictures and elaborate stage shows, the theater converted to presenting touring performers and special events in 1979. Each holiday season features the annual musical stage show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a tradition for more than 70 years. The Music Hall seats 6,000 people and after an initial slow start became a popular tourist destination in the city. Its interior was restored in 1999. (rockefellergroup.com)
The General Electric (GE) building is also another main attraction for Rockefeller Plaza. This building is the center of Rockefeller Center and is the ninth tallest building in New York City. The building was renamed in the 1980s after General Electric re-acquired RCA or NBC, which it helped found in 1919. The famous Rainbow Room club restaurant is located on the 65th floor; the Rockefeller family office covers the 54-56th floors. (time.com) The GE Building, also known as 30 Rock, was also famously constructed as a slab with a flat roof, where the Center’s newly renovated observation deck, the Top of the Rock is located, which was first built in 1933. (gonyc.com)

The ethnographic assignment is by definition a combination of being both objective and subjective through the use of facts along with our own opinion and reflection. This assignment challenged all of us to use the blend of these two very different ideas and creatively use them to make our streets or areas come alive for the reader. In order to fully have this effect, ethnographic research needed to be conducted as thoroughly as possible. This required researching facts and the history of our area or street and using this research to formulate our own ideas about the area. For example,

In essence, people create knowledge for other people. We all leave behind history through word of mouth, documents, etc. For this ethnographic assignment and for my area specifically, I found that knowledge for Rockefeller Center did come from people, but also more so from the buildings that comprise the Plaza. Of course, people are responsible for making these buildings, but the buildings are their legacy. John D. Rockefeller’s legacy is obviously the Plaza including the GE Building, Radio City Music Hall, and the incorporation of public art; all of which make up knowledge of the area through their endurance from their construction to present day.
The role of the ethnographer in relation to the place is to take the time to be as thorough and detailed as possible in order to give the area as much justice as possible. The ethnographer’s responsibilities are very crucial as well and very similar. The ethnographer is responsible in making all the research reach the desired conclusion, having it come alive, as referenced earlier. These responsibilities include, in my opinion, making sure all of the factual research is accurate and properly cited as well as making sure the research is thorough and covers all of the important aspects of the area are incorporated.

Works Cited

1. “A Brief History of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – Photo Essays – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. Web. 26 Aug. 2010. .

2. Cross, By Heather. “Rockefeller Center – Visitors Guide to Rockefeller Center.” New York City Travel from About.com – Guide to New York City Tourism, Restaurants, Hotels, Etc. Web. 26 Aug. 2010. .

3. “History of The Rockefeller Group.” History of the Rockefeller Group. Web. 26 Aug. 2010. .


The End

August 4, 2010

As my ‘Summer in the City’ comes to a close, I am at a loss for words. When I first found out that I had been accepted into the program at Elon, I knew that this summer was going to be unlike any of my previous ones. I didn’t expect, however, how much that would prove to be true as the summer pressed on. This summer has been the best experience of my life and overall invaluable to what lies ahead. I have learned so much in such a short time here and have experienced more than I ever imagined. I have discovered how determination, hard work, and overall dedication can go such a long way in everything you try to accomplish. I have found these qualities within myself through this experience and, although acquiring these qualities took effort and ultimately time to posses, I know now, without a doubt, that they are a part of me and because of this I am confident about all my future endeavors.

My internship for the majority of the summer was working with Green Pine Films LLC as a Production Intern. I learned so much from this internship and would not trade it, however, I also discovered that film might not be what I want to pursue as a career. Working as a Production Intern, I learned a lot about to work in an office setting, something that will be valuable with whatever I end up doing. I learned how to work with people in an office, how to be resourceful, and how to ask the right questions when completing tasks. I also am happy to say that I can officially put on my resume that I can drive a fifteen-passenger van all around the five boroughs of New York City. I was also lucky enough to work on set for a few days and learned a lot of what happens behind the scenes of a film. I was given a walkie-talkie and learned the lingo, I learned how to deal with sometimes un-cooperative pedestrians during a shoot, I learned that working until 4 in the morning and running around moving and lifting heavy things was the norm while working on a film, and, above all I witnessed passion and love for working on something bigger than yourself. Yes, there were times when I was working that I wanted to give up, especially when I got the offer to sleep in my office because I would only be getting four hours of sleep that night anyway, but I realized that life is all about experiencing things like this. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and now I will always have this experience to carry with me. I loved working hard, and doing this job made me feel valuable. I got this job solely through my own merit, I didn’t use connections and I didn’t want to. Some people may think I’m crazy but I wanted to prove to myself that I could get, keep, and thrive in a job that I wasn’t necessarily doing to get ahead, but for me. I love to be independent and self-sufficient and this experience helped me truly accomplish just that. Although film may not be for me, I know I will be able to take all of this with me in whatever I decide I want to do in the future.


Yes, I made a poem.

August 4, 2010

Walking down the street
Cobblestones under my feet
Baking in the summer heat
Walking all around had seemed pretty sweet
Now there is just aching coming from my feet
At last I make it to 42nd street

Finally a subway station I do see
Never thought I would be filled with such glee

Just two more stops on the subway to go
Stomach still full from so much Magnolia dough

People all around me in the subway jam-packed
I hold on for dear life for the brake impact

Hustle and bustle begins all around
Bumped and shoved almost falling to the ground

Finally I make it to the top of the stair
Never again will I take for granted the blissful fresh air

Looking all around makes the butterflies come
Remembering it’s almost over makes me more than glum

8th avenue New School is where we all dwell
Going to the elevator makes the security guard yell
“Swipe your card or go to hell!”

Fifth and sixth floors are the places to be
I think we can all agree
Lost, True Blood, Dexter, and Prison break on our T.V.
Man, I’m going to miss all the O.M.G’s

To think it was scary at one point in time
Now looking around me it is all so sublime
In the words of Miley, it’s “all about the climb”
Yes, I’m going to miss this place big time

Working hard, learning fast, are lessons to be learned here
You keep your head down and work hard for a career

New York City you’re one of a kind
Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of, always on my mind.


Rockefeller Center Brochure

August 3, 2010

Below is the link to a PDF for my brochure for Rockefeller Center and contains what I talked about on the bus tour.

Rockefeller Center


Being one with art…

August 1, 2010

Joan Jonas Mirror Piece I

Joan Jonas Mirror Piece I

For the piece of art that represents my area in New York I chose Mirror Piece I by Joan Jonas. Mirror Piece I was created in 1968-1971 in New York and is one that I believe best exemplifies my area through performances, which Joan Jonas started in the 1960s, of the artwork. These performances would allow the audience to be a part of the artwork and oftentimes seek to disorient the audiences’ sense of space and time. Jonas challenged her audiences to adjust and re-adjust their perceptions of what was going on around them. For Mirror Piece I, a performance that allowed Jonas to transition from sculptor to performer in her career, Jonas would have each performer hold a mirror that faced the audience and would incorporate dance among other art forms as well. This allowed for the audience to participate in the art, something that I feel is a big part of Rockefeller Center, the last major building project in the United States to incorporate public art. At Rockefeller Center, one can find artwork all over in obvious and sometimes obscure areas. Public art is all part of Rockefeller Center’s experience and essential allure. The art that is scattered all over the Plaza, allowing everyone to experience and be a part of it, adds more notoriety to an already renowned area.


Remembering 9/11

August 1, 2010

For this blog entry, we were asked to go to http://911dayofservice.org/ website and post a good deed or service to complete in honor of September 11th. I remember watching as the towers went down on one of the scariest days of my life, not knowing if family and friends were safe from this tragedy. I will always remember those who died that day, and will be doing this service in honor of them. I encourage all who are reading this to do the same. Even though it seems like a distant memory, many still have to cope with the loss of loved ones everyday. Every little bit helps.

As the communications seat and public relations co-chair on the Student Government Association at Elon University, in North Carolina, I will work to hold a fundraiser for all those involved in civic duty as well as the military. I anticipate a bake sale as well as the opportunity for students to offer donations and write appreciative cards to policemen and women, firefighters, and those overseas in the military.


You want it, they got it

July 26, 2010

Whenever you see shows on television such as American Idol or, perhaps even Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, you always notice but never think about the behind the scenes of them. The sets of these shows are always so elaborate and technologically advanced, but one never contemplates how they are produced and created. Taking the tour of Showman Fabricators shed light on just this. Aside from being impressed by the sheer velocity of everything they create, I was amazed by the different techniques and insider tips the company had and shared with our group, for instance, my favorite piece of equipment, the steel cutter. Doesn’t sound too exciting except that this was no ordinary steel cutter, it was a high pressured hydro steel cutter that could cut lines and shapes with a clean cut and without any space if there was the need for the two pieces to fit back together.  There was also the technology that used three-dimensional graphics in order to create the elements needed to create these elaborate sets in order for those who worked on them to preview what they would need to do in order to reach the final product. Overall, I was impressed by how organized and well run the company was. The tour taught me a lot about how things are dealt in the entertainment industry and how much goes into these productions.  There’s so much that goes into these sets and backdrops that many wouldn’t be able to comprehend at first sight and is something I will definitely take more notice of in the future.