A Tribeca original makes its mark uptown

Soft lighting and vintage tones transport guests beyond the expected in a city landmark

Smith & Mills



On the concourse level of Rockefeller Center, adjacent to the famous rink and Titan Prometheus Statue, is the recently opened second location for Tribeca’s beloved Smith & Mills.


The design was a collaboration of Matthew Abramcyk and Akiva Elstein of Neighborhood Projects and Krista Ninivaggi of Woods Bagot. “Matt and Akiva are such visionaries for what they do. Their deep understanding of their audience and brand allowed our team to act as design guides, helping them to draw out their best ideas to create the experience they were striving for and translating it for their new space.”

The guest experience upon entering the space was created with intentionality, drawing people in from the bright bustling flow within Rockefeller Center into a softly lit space in which to get lost. Guests are greeted by the host in a cozy vestibule surrounded by dark tones, dim lighting, and vintage wrought iron elevator cab panels. The panels are a nod to the celebrated elevator cab restroom in the original location. The minimal host stands in front of skinny wood paneling with a deep bevel. The texture of the reclaimed paneling is emphasized with two-tone gloss paint. The paneling and a black zellige tile are the primary wall finishes throughout the space. Window treatments are a moody take on the traditional bistro curtain.

Stepping past the entrance and into the restaurant, the main event is the oval island bar that is wrapped in zinc and walnut and sits on a tiled black stone floor. The columns that punctuate the space in between two directional wall panels are clad in zellige tile with inset mirrors. The walls opposite the storefront have large mirrors, custom to the space, but designed to feel antique and industrial, a nod to the mix of old and new aesthetic of the original location. Banquette seating lines the perimeter of the dining room and frames the central island bar. The banquettes are wrapped in complimentary oxblood velvet and leather and are detailed with piping used for legs, another nod to the original location. The white marble tables have a brass band detail and are paired with bistro chairs.

A variety of lighting types are used, including pendants, sconces, picture lights, and architectural ceiling strip lighting. The pendants at the front of the bar are by called French Street Light by Trainspotters and are based on a 1930s original and constructed of cast aluminum and cast bronze with a hand-blown diffuser. The patina black painted pendants at the back of the bar are by Christian Dell and date back to the 1930s. Bronze picture lights accompany the mirrors throughout the bar and Prismatic Glass sconces can be found along the back wall above the main service station.

Original artwork by Yelena Yemchuk, a friend of the owners, is a nod to the Art Deco design of Rockefeller Center and contributes to “an atmosphere that transports guests somewhere else” according to co-owner Akiva Elstein.

The private dining room is clad in handmade red zellige tiles made in Morocco and transitions to a wall covering above featuring a botanical print. Seating in the space is flexible and is furnished with found pieces.

Neighborhood Projects

With luxe velvet banquettes and a center facing bar, the Smith & Mills Rockefeller Center location unites a downtown energy with a lively, timeless space.

“…an atmosphere that transports guests somewhere else.”

Akiva Elstein, Smith & Mills Co-Owner