Radio City Music Hall is one of the jewels in New York’s Art Deco crown. Since it opened in 1932, over 300 million visitors to the “show place of the nation” have marveled at its breathtaking elegance. Designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone and interior designer Donald Deskey, Radio City is a gilded palace of luxurious drapes, gold leaf, bakelite detailing, and beautiful murals.
The man charged with replicating the building’s magnificence on stage was theatre impresario Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel. Roxy’s nickname had become a byword in opulence, glamour, and entertainment; Cole Porter’s hit song from Anything Goes, “You’re the Top,” went so far as to say, “You’re romance, you’re the steppes of Russia, you’re the pants on a Roxy usher.” His eponymous Roxy film theatre in Times Square, sadly demolished in 1960, was known as the “cathedral of motion pictures.” Roxy gave Radio City his magic touch, producing thrilling and ground breaking shows. He introduced synchronized orchestral scores to silent films, and audiences flocked to what was at the time the world’s largest indoor theatre to see the latest film releases paired with his glittering troupe of dancing Rockettes.
According to legend and to show their appreciation for his talents, Stone and Deskey decided to give Roxy a present. High up inside Radio City, they built him an apartment. As lavishly detailed in the art deco style as the theatre downstairs, Roxy wined and dined such leading lights as Olivia de Havilland, Samuel Goldwyn, and Alfred Hitchcock there. With 20 foot high ceilings covered in gold leaf, and walls decorated floor to ceiling with plush drapes, Roxy’s apartment was as mesmerizing as his opulent stages shows below.
After Roxy died in 1936 the apartment lay unused and forgotten, hidden away far above the audiences he used to entertain. No one lives there now, but it remains in pristine condition. Today Roxy’s apartment (now known as the Roxy Suite) is available for hire for luxury events. So the next time you want to sip cocktails under the same golden ceiling as the leading lights of the 1930s did, Radio City Music Hall has the perfect glittering apartment, secreted away high above its famous stage.
Know Before You Go
This can be seen on the tour of Radio City Music Hall.