Rockefeller Center Plaza

Text and Photographs by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Natural History special issue

Part of City of Stars photo essay.

The golden Prometheus sculture in repose with a ribbon of symbols and creatures from the zodiacal constellations below.
Prometheus in the Rockefeller Center plaza, created by Paul Manship in 1934.

Brilliant in gold leaf, Rockefeller Center’s Prometheus floats down from the heavens, genitals covered, holding a fistful of stolen fire. He was a Titan who defied the will of Zeus and brought fire to Earth, helping mortals while risking harsh retribution from the authorities. Prometheus was the first humanitarian and rebel.

Prometheus has yet to reach Earth; a ribbon of zodiacal constellations in bas-relief circles beneath him, with each constellation identified by name along the ribbon’s inner surface.