The Cipriani family, the restaurateurs famed for starting Harry's Bar in Venice and who have run the Rainbow Grill since 1998, is shuttering the Rockefeller Center highrise establishment's doors, citing tough times and a dispute with the Rainbow Room's landlord. (The bar and ballroom are staying open.) That's the official reason; family scion Giuseppe Cipriani's overseas trip, conveniently timed to dodge an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo into how his restaurants kept their liquor license, isn't mentioned. It's a shame: If there's a time New York City needed a civic institution like the Rainbow Room, it's surely now — as much as it was called for 74 years ago.
Here's a look at the Rainbow Room's glamorous past — from Marlene Dietrich in the 1960s and Diane Von Furstenberg in the 1970s to Cipriani's retro restoration.
Organist Ray Bohr at the Rainbow Room's Wurlitzer, which was removed in 1954.
Marlene Dietrich at the Rainbow Room.
Diane Von Furstenberg, pre-Barry Diller, with guests at a Rainbow Room event.
Restaurateurs Joe and Charles Baum, with chef Waldy Malouf, who restored the restaurant in the 1980s and ran it before the Ciprianis took over.