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Rockefeller Center tuning into New York revival with fabled vinyl record store

Tishman Speyer has brought fabled record store Rough Trade to the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

The real estate giant said the vinyl purveyor founded in London during the Punk Rock era, will occupy a 2,000 s/f store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a building originally occupied by radio pioneer RCA and home today to NBC and shows such as The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live.

“It is especially fitting to welcome Rough Trade to their new home at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which originally was known as the RCA Building, where phonographs and records played such an important role in the building’s history and are ingrained in its DNA,” said EB Kelly, Tishman Speyer managing director overseeing Rockefeller Center.

“The Center prides itself on presenting best-in-class experiences and offerings that can only be found here, and Rough Trade is an incredible addition to our campus as New York’s leading 21st century expression of music and vinyl culture.”

The new store is on the ground floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, steps from the Radio City Music Hall

The landlord has been working double time during the pandemic to help revive the anemic New York entertainment scene decimated by severe lockdowns, empty offices and fleeing residents. At the height of the crisis, it turned the famous Rockefeller Ice Rink into an outdoor dining plaza and launched a public art exhibition of work by the likes of Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez and Thaddeus Mosley. It create an alley of customized vending machines offering the type of touchless shopping coveted as the virus spread through the city and it renewed restaurant powerhouse Ted’s Montana Grill and signed a new lease with famed Greek restaurant Avra Estiatorio as it eyed an eventual return to normalcy in the city.

“With our programming at Rockefeller Center, we strive to bring New Yorkers some of the newest and most impactful artistic and cultural work of today,” added Michaella Solar-March, Tishman Speyer Managing Director and Global Head of Marketing.

“Rough Trade is among the most authentic and trusted brands in music and will help elevate our public programming to even higher levels, giving New Yorkers unforgettable experiences at a quintessential New York location, whether outdoors at Rockefeller Plaza or inside the iconic Rainbow Room.”

Rough Trade was originally founded in London, back in 1976. It spawned its own record label, signing bands like The Smiths and The Libertines, and expanded to locations in San, Tokyo and Paris.

In 2013, it opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, becoming an east coast Mecca for music lovers of all ages and tastes and joining an illustrious list of iconic record stores, from Bobby Robinson’s Bobby’s Records, The Commodore Music Shop, Time Square Records, Record Mart, Disc-O-Mat, Crazy Eddie’s, Record Explosion, to Midnight Records, Venus Records, Rocks in Your Head, 99 Record, Other Music, Pantasia, and many more.

Co-owner Stephen Godfroy said the move to the Rockefeller Center was a chance for Rough Trade to evolve as cities around the world rethink their public attraction.


“Following the impact of COVID-19, Rough Trade’s decision to relocate reflects a wider reimagination of cities worldwide,” said Godfroy. “Manhattan has a glorious history of great record stores. Now there’s an exciting present as well. The opportunities afforded by the pandemic in the reconfiguration of central city districts have brought us, counter-intuitively, to the heart of New York, an area barren of record stores for years.”

Rough Trade – which opened June 1 – will co-develop live events at Rockefeller Center, host artist meet-and-greet signings and continue to sell new and limited-edition vinyl, with expert staff on hand to share their passion for music and NYC gig information.

Godfroy added, “Rough Trade at Rockefeller is undoubtedly bold, provocative, tantalizing – exactly the kind of unexpected move that excites not just ourselves, but also the label and artist community that we represent – plus, hopefully a fair share of music lovers from across the city, too.”

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