The Most Beautiful Place in New York

My daughter is so tired of hearing me say it. I say it every time we walk into the lobby. To my credit, I say it in a slightly different way each time. For example:Balcony

  • Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful.
  • Isn’t it beautiful?
  • This place is so beautiful.
  • I can’t believe how beautiful this place is.
  • Look! Look at that! It’s so beautiful!

And I say it many, many times while we’re there, because everything is, well, beautiful.

I’m talking about Radio City Music Hall, my absolute favorite place in New York City.

I love it because it is a marvel of architecture. It has 6,200 seats, and not one of them offers a poor view, thanks to the design, which has no obstructing columns anywhere. I love it because the railings, the walls, the carpet, the door handles, the moldings — everything — was carefully designed to be (here’s that word again) beautiful. Someone I’ve only been able to identify as “a New York critic” wrote at the time the Music Hall opened, “It has been said of the new Music Hall that it needs no performers.” I agree. I could stay there all day, just to take it all in.

Donald Desky acted as interior designer for the Music Hall in 1932. His design choices are elegant and dramatic without being gaudy or sentimental. If the Music Hall was a movie star, it would be Greta Garbo.

Greta GarboGreta GarboGreta GarboGreta Garbo

Mr. Desky hired fine artists to create murals, statues, carvings, and even the carpeting for the hall. He designed the Great Stage to resemble a setting sun and gave it a gold curtain that is the largest stage curtain in the world.


Now, how beautiful is that?

I learned some more about Donald Desky. He went on to work for the Procter & Gamble Company for 20 years. He created the designs for the following packages:

  • Crest toothpaste, which has not changed its package since its introduction in the 1950’s
  • Aqua Velva after-shave lotion, for which Desky won a gold medal for the best package design of 1956
  • Cheer laundry detergent
  • Prell shampoo
  • Jif peanut butter
  • Pampers disposable diapers
  • Bounty paper towels

So, even if you can’t get to Radio City Music Hall, you can see Donald Desky’s work. Come to think of it, that Aqua Velva bottle is pretty elegant and dramatic, too.

1956 Aqua Velva Ad

1956 Aqua Velva ad


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] attempt to paraphrase comments made by President William Jefferson Clinton during his lecture at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 17, […]

  2. 2

    […] submitted a post for this section, probably because everyone is busy out in the world. Here’s one of my posts about New York—my favorite spring and summer […]

  3. 3

    Rana said,

    I would love to see Radio City Music Hall. That place looks amazing. What a great woman to compare it too. I love Great Garbo. She was so dramatic and beautiful. I can imagine that’s what the inside of the music hall looks like too. Thanks for sharing. Learn something new everyday don’t we?

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