4. Rockefeller Center Holdout Townhouses
The 19-building complex at Rockefeller Center may seem like one monolithic architectural idea, but look closely and you’ll see two holdouts from an earlier era. A Magnolia bakery currently occupies the former Hurley’s, a bar and saloon that opened in the 1890s and later became a famed watering hole for the media industry, based largely in Rockefeller Center. The saloon had also operated successfully through Prohibition where the ground level flower shop led to the more popular speakeasy below.
The three Hurley brothers were hardly fazed by Rockefeller, asking for an absurdly high sum to underscore their refusal to leave. As one Hurley said “I’ve seen sonofabitchin’ Rockefellers come and sonofabitchin’ Rockefellers go and no sonofabitchin’ Rockefeller’s gonna tear down my bar.” At the other end of the same block was owner John Maxwell, less theatrical but equally firm in his refusal to leave. Today the three-story townhouse is home to a Nine West on the ground floor. Forced to build above and around the two townhouses, the 70-story 30 Rockefeller Plaza remains sandwiched between two three-and-four story structures.