Edit Template

Summer at Rockefeller Center® Offers Free Public Art, New Outdoor Dining Experiences, & the Romance of Gotham Gardens~Styled for the Corona Era

Rockefeller Center Art & Dining Redesigned for Social Distancing

I was delighted to discover some happy news from the folks at Rockefeller Center and am thrilled to share the good news with you. Lord knows we need more good news…
This summer, Rockefeller Center is presenting a number of exclusive outdoor dining, art, and retail experiences, as well as newly added seating throughout Rockefeller Plaza. Corresponding to New York City’s phased reopening, all of Rockefeller Center’s summer activations are outdoors and do not require tickets, ensuring New Yorkers can enjoy festive seasonal offerings while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

As a garden designer and writer who is equally fascinated by garden history, I like to share nuggets of garden history that folks may not be aware of. In the case of Rockefeller Center, did you know that the land now occupied by Rockefeller Center was once the location of the Elgin Botanic Garden, the first botanical garden in New York State and one of the earliest in the United States? Well, it is. The garden was established by Dr. David Hosack in 1801 and is often referred to as a forerunner of The New York Botanical Garden. (At one time, I was asked to interview at Rockefeller Center to head up the communications strategy for what was then the effort to create an art-focused branding outreach. Story for another time! But I did my research.) So I hope you can see, as a garden lover, and Gotham citizen, I naturally have a love of this special NYC space.

“Rockefeller Center is known for its beloved public spaces, especially its plazas and gardens, and we are thrilled to make them available this summer to our tenants and to New Yorkers in new and unexpected ways. Even while adapting to these changing times in our City, Rockefeller Center can continue to be a favorite destination for culture, commerce, and community,” said EB Kelly, Tishman Speyer Managing Director who oversees Rockefeller Center. “Along with our incredible partners, we have created a summer program consisting of multiple public art installations, pop-up food and retail options, and of course those special ‘surprise and delight’ moments that can only occur at Rockefeller Center. Where else could you enjoy a delicious bite under the watchful eye of a masked Prometheus?”

In the era of corona, what could be better than masking up to look at the golden masked icon of Rockefeller Center?!

Public Art
Continuing its tradition of displaying free, public art, Rockefeller Center is presenting three major installations this summer:

The Flag Project
The Flag Project is a public art initiative that gave New Yorkers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design the iconic flags that will be flown from all 193 flagpoles surrounding the Rink at Rockefeller Center. The public was invited to submit their own artworks celebrating New York City – its diverse culture, vibrant energy, strength, and resiliency. The winning submissions have been produced as 8-foot by 5-foot flags and will be flown together as a temporary exhibition.

In addition to the general public, a handful of artists and notable New Yorkers will design flags as part of the temporary exhibition. Participating artists include Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović , Christian Siriano, Sarah Sze, Steve Powers, KAWS, Laurie Anderson, Hank Willis Thomas, Carmen Herrera, Jenny Holzer, Shantell Martin, Sanford Biggers, and Faith Ringgold.

The Flag Project will be on display from August 1-16, 2020.

Featured Flag Project Artist ~ Jordan Grace Robinson is in Good Company:
Jordan Grace Robinson, artist, textile designer, and poetry author who hails from Red Bank in the Garden State, is a very special emerging artist who will also be featured in the Flag Project. 

I have been enchanted and perhaps a bit bewitched by Jordan ever since a chance meeting a few years ago. What happened was this: NJ Monthly Magazine was scheduled to do the photo shoot for a feature about my gardens, hostess style, and my soon-to-be-released book, Art of the Garnish. With the photo session date looming for the next day and I still hadn’t received my designer dresses (one preferred and one for a back up!), I scooted to the local Ann Taylor to find something. Anything. And there was my fashion goddess guide, Jordan, confident and composed, who had me magazine worthy in no time. I knew this woman was going places. And boy has she journeyed to artful success! With fine art, fashion design, poetry – all wreathed in kindness, goodness, and mindful talent.

So it was not altogether a surprise when I learned Jordan’s flag art was selected to be displayed in this illustrious public art display.

When I received the news release from Rockefeller Center, I sprang into action, asking if Jordan would honor me and Garden Glamour readers with a preview of her award-winning art flag that premieres today as part of the Flag Project exhibition. This is a close-up of Jordan’s award-winning submission:

Photo of award-winning Flag aka “Like Flowers We’ll Bloom Again” courtesy of Jordan 

Jordan created both the abstract painting and the floral illustration intentionally for the contest.

Here are the two distinct and arresting art pieces that she rendered in paint markers and acrylic:

Jordan’s whimsical signature floral bouquet, Photo courtesy of Jordan  
The Impasto paint technique depict the energy of NYC: Photo courtesy of Jordan 

The story art behind the visual art is equally compelling. In her words (to borrow a phrase from the New York Times) Jordan shares the way a true artist thinks deeply about every element of the art; she tells us about her artful, mindful evolution from inspiration to concept to winning art.

My Winning Design Submission’s Design Process:
My art varies from abstract to a playful illustration style so I wanted to depict a blend of the two to fully represent who I am as an artist and depict my love for NYC. The abstract portion of the design is a scanned image of a 12” x 12” acrylic painting I created. The colors I chose are inspired by the rich tapestry of colors found throughout the city. The almost frenzied brushstrokes and elements of Impasto techniques were intentional. I wanted to depict the hustle and bustle in the city that never sleeps. The long portion of greenery was to represent the city’s parks.

The whimsical floral bouquet illustration is a scanned image of one of my signature floral illustrations created with paint markers. I wanted to feature flowers in a vase to represent how, “we’re all this together”. In Covid-19 times and beyond. I love to have conversations with people about their perception(s) of art so in my work I love to have an element of varied symbolism.

Someone may see the drooping flowers in the vase as literal flowers waiting to grow stronger, while someone else may see them as symbols for us humans dealing with struggles and wanting to “pick their heads up”, and may view the two flowers standing upright as pillars of regrowth. To share my perception, I like to view them as dancing and flourishing in sunlight! Trying to find joy in dark times.

Jordan added, “To quote my written submission in correspondence with my design entry, “I reminisced about memories from my childhood years living in Hanover Square and Christmas Eves when visiting family in Brooklyn Heights ( always bringing them a dozen cookies from Court Pastry Shop) YUM!! I was also inspired by the city’s industrial landscape, the hustle and bustle of people walking around the city, and natural greenery and florals found throughout NYC. From floral stands to Central Park. The deep hue of brownstones was my inspiration for the color of the “NYC” type. The “N” structure was to pay homage to The Twin Towers. The flowers symbolize how NYC will always thrive and come back stronger each year– to bloom even more vibrant than the year before! “

Jordan noted, “If I was able to give my flag a name, it would be, “Like Flowers, We’ll Bloom Again.” It would share the name of my poetry book I wrote at the beginning of the covid pandemic.”

I love the story behind the art. Jordan’s detail is so moving and emotional – honoring the people we lost in the Twin Towers and celebrating what those iconic buildings meant to us citizens of Gotham; to our skyline; our parks and gardens. To our world-class energy. (As I tell my friends, we’ll get our NYC mojo back very soon…) And of course, Jordan’s story includes family memories of food and special holidays.

Applause, Applause, Jordan!

When Jordan’s poetry books were first published, I noted on my weekly Art of the Garnish, Garden_Glamour Facebook Live cocktail party events and of course, ordered my own copies from Amazon. You can purchase from Jordan’s artiste website (see above link in her name).

The artist, Jordan Grace Robinson. Photo Courtesy of Jordan 

Back to Rockefeller Center and the other myriad art installations there now.

Art in Focus
Rockefeller Center and Art Production Fund are presenting a site-specific public art presentation by Brooklyn-based ceramics artist Ryan Flores as part of their Art in Focus partnership. Art in Focus displays artwork in prominent and unexpected, public outdoor locations throughout the Rockefeller Center campus.

Flores’ presentation, “Low Lifes: An Upside Down Love Letter,” continues Flores’ exploration of material seduction and its connection to the viewer through the use of ceramic objects. The show takes on a process that is evident in both art history and our contemporary consumer culture creating an excess or grandiosity around everyday objects.

“Low Lifes: An Upside Down Love Letter” is currently on display at Rockefeller Center.

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center
Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center returns for its second iteration as a special exhibition of site-specific works by renowned international artists. Usually held in the spring as part of the wider programming of Frieze New York, Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center was postponed and readapted this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Presented in partnership with Tishman Speyer, the major public art initiative places significant sculptural works by leading artists in open, public locations throughout Rockefeller Plaza.

Curated by Brett Littman, the second edition is inspired by the site’s and the city’s natural materials of earth, rock, and plants, and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the original date when Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center was scheduled to debut. Artists Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley have responded to that inspiration, with Amer, Cortez, Goldsworthy, Henke, and Mosley creating major new site-specific works.

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will be on display from September 1 – October 2, 2020.

Summer Dining
I have so many fond memories of dining at Rockefeller Center with friends and business associates – it’s so glamorous and quintessential New York. Here’s what you can expect this year: 
Summer at The Rink:
Filled with oversized tables and greenery, Summer at The Rink includes new pop-up dining options featuring decadent summer bites, grab-and-go meals, seasonal desserts, and refreshing specialty drinks. Restaurants include:
· Rainbow Room: a selection of gourmet salads, wraps, sandwiches, bowls, desserts, and nonalcoholic beverages (Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on The Rink).
· Alidoro: a variety of hot and cold sandwiches and salads (Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on The Rink.)
· Makina Cafe Truck: a sampling of Ethiopian and Eritrean lunch options (Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 6 :00 p.m. in the North Plaza)
· Other Half: the Brooklyn-based brewery offers a selection of its 100+ beers (Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on the South Esplanade).

Joining the new additions with outdoor offerings are:
· City Winery: a variety of reds, whites, and rosés, beers from Montauk Brewing Company, and a Mediterranean-inspired menu of charcuterie, cheeses, and burrata (seven days a week, 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the North Plaza)
· Ben & Jerry’s: a selection of popular ice cream favorites (seven days a week, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on The Rink)
· Limani: an assortment of Greek-Mediterranean offerings from the restaurant’s seafood-focused menu (Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the North Plaza)
· Del Frisco’s Grille: the chophouse offers a selection of steak, seafood, sandwiches, and cocktails from its main menu (seven days a week, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the North Plaza).

Seriously. This is “hats in the air” incredible.  The variety of food and drink at their multiple, iconic outdoor offerings and the safety precautions are to be applauded.  Please do luxuriate in the experience – especially while the weather is good to us. 

The Vend
Rock Center says, “
The Vend, is a novel retail experience in the form of customized vending machines offering solutions for life’s unexpected emergencies through differentiated products from around the world, expands to new locations throughout Rockefeller Center…. The Vend presents an exciting and easy way for customers to access a variety of products quickly, designed to surprise customers with unique versions of everyday products Developed by Tishman Speyer and debuting at Rockefeller Center last year, The Vend features new products such as a selection of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and wipes, as well as unique food and beverage options carefully curated from different parts of the world, as well as sundries and PPE (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and wipes).”

And we can all use more of these safety tools when emerging from our corona cocoons. Enjoy the art. Embrace the artists’ works. And our beloved, cultured, New York City. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending Posts


"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

Join me to celebrate a romantic, garden-infused, entertaining lifestyle filled with artful design, sparkling dinner parties, peerless martinis, and copious magnums of champagne!





Edit Template

Engage & Inspire

Join Ladies Who Lunch Conversations

Join me & my artful guests to explore the captivating, candid, & inspiring stories about their extraordinary lives, passions, careers; their meditation on life~that is sure to enrich ours. These inspiring women share challenges & tips on how to turn a dream into a well-lived life.

Copyright © 2024 Garden Glamour by Duchess Designs

Website Development by Literary Inspired