In the City, Around the Table

In the City, Around the Table

Can you hear that?

It’s seven a.m. on a Thursday at Rockefeller Center, and the rush is just beginning. Producers balance trays of lattes from Café Grumpy, riding the elevators back up to the news desk at NBC. A pair of publicists pause for a quick cappuccino at Ralph’s on Fifth Avenue; each picks up a pain au chocolate . One manager, emerging from the subway, darts straight to the pick-up window of Black Seed Bagels. A mobile order (pumpernickel everything, avocado, white cheddar, two fried eggs) is ready and waiting, like a parchment-wrapped gift.

The sun rises higher above this New York landmark.

The offices bustle, the workday hits it stride, but the sidewalks below still swell with sneakers and suits. Visitors wander between Todd Snyder and Hillhouse, nibbling at chocolate babka from Breads Bakery. At lunch, consultants treat their clients to tempura calamari at Five Acres while seated next to the iconic ice rink. A couple from Sao Paolo, in town for the week, steals a spot at the front window of Lodi. They order a bombolone—brioche and ricotta, red raspberry jam—and, while they wait, watch kids lob tennis balls in a pop-up court on the plaza.

This is all a part—a growing part—of the magic of Rockefeller Center.

Just as the kitchen is the heart of any home, restaurants are the soul of any New York City neighborhood—and it is not a stretch, not anymore, to think of Rockefeller Center as a neighborhood. Art and commerce live here. So does history, as anyone under the original, now-restored 1930s tile on the concourse can tell you. Visit the plaza today and you will see the Tishman Speyer approach in action: one of the best ways to connect great people with great places is to give them great food.

That’s why we went straight to the source:

New York City itself. We looked for young chefs across the city with a story to tell. And who did we find? Michelin darlings J.P. and Ellia Park, now running NARO; the James Beard award-winning pair, Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, at Le Rock; Brooklyn’s favorite farm-to-table incubator, Greg Baxtrom, at Five Acres; and the beloved trio Jess Shadbolt, Annie Shi, and Claire de Boer at Jupiter. Our pitch to them was simple: What if we made “midtown” the middle of everything? What if we worked together to make Rockefeller Center the epicenter of New York cuisine?

When we said “together,” we meant it.

Every restaurant at Rockefeller Center has its own unique identity, but the chefs there also see themselves as a laboratory for innovation—they workshop menus, collaborate on seasonal dishes, and mix one another an after-hours martini. “Together as chefs,” observes Ellia Park, co-founder of NARO, “we’re challenging each other and building the future.”

This is the difference between building a development and creating a community.

Jess Shadbolt, one of the chefs behind Jupiter, has another way of describing it: “Rockefeller Center,” she says, “is very much like the piazza of a European city, with Jupiter as the trattoria. It has that energy of meeting and exchange, and this ability to bring people together at a thoroughfare.” Restaurants like hers give everyone a reason to pass through and stay for a while—or, for Rockefeller Center’s customers, a reason to stick around when the work day is done. Plus, anyone who works at Rockefeller Center can receive access to happy hour deals and special chef pop-ups organized by ZO, Tishman Speyer’s global amenity network.

Which is why, as the daylight dims

you’ll find Tishman Speyer’s customers dining beside visitors, enjoying fried artichokes and orange wine at before strolling to Broadway shows. At Le Rock, just across the plaza, a job promotion is toasted over plates of leeks vinaigrette. Nearby, a date at NARO marvels at her filet of bluefin tuna on a black garlic chojang rice—as if she has opened a pink jewel in a black velvet box. They are all discovering what we already know: something exciting—something delicious—is happening at Rockefeller Center.

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