7. The GE Building’s original, scrapped lobby mural contained a portrait of Vladimir Lenin

Lenin in Diego Rivera painting Man at the Crossroads
Detail of recreation of ‘Man at the Crossroads’ with Vladimir Lenin

Rockefeller Center contains many pieces of art, from the iconic Prometheus and Atlas statues to the murals all around 30 Rock. However, one commission by the socialist artist Diego Rivera, then financed by Rockefeller’s wife, was taken down shortly after being installed in the lobby of the GE Building due to accusations that it contained Communist imagery.

Diego’s color fresco, dubbed Man at the Crossroads, was said to contain an image of Vladimir Lenin and a Soviet Russian May Day Parade. Nelson Rockefeller, John Jr.’s son, having wanted either Henri Matisse or Pablo Picasso to design the lobby of the GE Building, lobbied to have the mural destroyed before it was finished, despite protests from artists trying to get it moved to the nearby Museum of Modern Art. The mural was ultimately destroyed.