With more than 100 retailers and restaurants at Rockefeller Center, Steven Alan and Jill Lindsey are joining the ranks with six-month pop-ups that will open later this month.
They are the first to be part of RC Capsule, which offers pre-wired spaces to brands that do not have physical spaces. Alan, who grew up nearby on West 56th Street, will be selling his signature designs at 1260 Sixth Avenue. As a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based, community-driven business, Lindsey will be setting up shop at 70 West 50th Street to showcase artisanal apparel and accessories, as well as sustainable products and health and wellness services. Capsule is meant to develop longer-term tenancy.
The two designers’ new locations are in stores previously occupied by Erwin Pearl and Papyrus. The aim is to keep RC Capsule rolling for years, and another space is planned for next year, said EB Kelly, a managing director at Tishman Speyer, who oversees Rockefeller Center.
While seasonal activations take place around Rockefeller Center’s public plazas and in other areas, RC Capsule is a first. Geared for New York-centric independent talent, the spaces range from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet and have a neutral aesthetic to make changeovers easy, Kelly said.
Rockefeller Center’s current vacancy rate is six percent, with some stores like Lego expanding their leases, she said. Anthropologie, Cole Han and Michael Kors have renewed their leases.
Although only 10 to 15 percent of office workers have returned to their respective Rockefeller Center addresses, the area is taking on a more holiday feel. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was delivered Saturday and the official tree lighting will go forward. “So this beloved New York holiday tradition will remain in spite of COVID-19. Certainly, it will feel a bit different than it has in years past,” said Kelly, allowing that typical holiday traffic will not be the same.
Millions of people visit Rockefeller Center during the holiday season normally, but not this year. There will be no public access to this year’s tree lighting, due to the pandemic. But a live national broadcast is planned on NBC. Strict guidelines are expected to be put in place to ensure social distancing for tree viewing next month, but those details have not yet been released.
Hopeful that the tree’s arrival will draw more New Yorkers and visitors to see it, Kelly said, “It’s not just for showing their out-of-town friends. I expect that for many people, who aren’t able to travel this Christmas, this will be a special place for them to come to.”
In addition to RC Capsule, Field Trip will be another newcomer to Rockefeller Center in the concourse.
Meanwhile, this summer’s reopening of the Top of the Rock Observatory has helped to generate foot traffic, but the attraction has seen far fewer visitors than the norm, Kelly said. This season’s tickets for ice skating at Rockefeller Center also recently went on sale online and Kelly said, “I haven’t seen the sales numbers yet, but I certainly expect there is quite a bit of interest in that. That will be a great harbinger of how many people we expect to see.”