1251 Avenue of the Americas was built in 1967-1971 as the second building in the Rockefeller Center Extension across Sixth Avenue, with the Exxon oil company as the main occupant.
Due to the buildings' excess bulk, as opposed to the allowances given by zoning, the western ends of the plots were to be used as north-south public promenades running through each block.
The vertical facade striping consists of narrow limestone-clad piers as vertical structural members, with a similar structural system used on the other buildings within the new complex.
The first plans for the three new office towers, called the Exxon Building, McGraw-Hill Building and Celanese Building, were made in 1963 by Harrison and Abramovitz. The plan arranged the buildings around a large sunken central plaza (with entrances to the new buildings, as well as the Rockefeller Center concourse), with the centermost one placed north-south, at right angles with the established Manhattan gridline. In the realized plan, however, all the buildings were placed east-west on adjacent blocks.
Facing Sixth Avenue, there is a sunken plaza with a large pool and fountains as well as trees and the lifelike bronze statue Out to Lunch, of the same series as the one outside the former JPMorgan Chase Tower.
The 54-storey Exxon building occupies the plot opposite the GE Building (today GE Building), and its vertically accentuated form rises to the height of 228.5 meters, being the second-tallest building in the whole Rockefeller Center.
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