Eddie Delima of Ocean Township refurbished this iconic symbol in New York’s Rockefeller Plaza.
By WILLIAM CLARK
Sixty-five stories above New York’s famed Rockefeller Plaza is the historic Rainbow Room. It has been the site of countless weddings and high class events where formally dressed attendees dance across the iconic compass rose on the floor.
Recently, Wanamassa resident Eddie Delima refurbished the symbol.
Delima has been doing hardwood floors for over 20 years. The skilled craftsman put in long hours in Manhattan during the process, leaving Ocean Township at 4 a.m., putting in a full day redoing the floors of an apartment building on 79th Street before heading to Midtown during the evening.
The project took about two weeks to finish between tearing up the former floor and laying down the new, precisely cut wood. The intricacies of the floor resembled a picturesque puzzle, requiring delicate, perfect alignment.
Making it even more difficult were the mechanics that the floor sits on allowing the image to rotate.
Delima had help in terms of demolition and clean up, but each measurement was up to his experienced eyes and hands. The historic nature of the project was even more important because Delima had to recreate with fidelity to the old floor.
Delima and his wife, Simone, are natives of Brazil, immigrating to New Jersey in 2000. Both were born in the countryside. Simone said that neither she nor her husband even know their proper birthdays.
“There were no doctors or calendars,” she said. “They would look at the moon and guess what month it is.”
After he arrived in Long Branch, Delima started to work and take English classes. He and Simone are now legal residents and have applied for citizenship.
“He’s a hard worker,” Simone said.
The couple have two children and live in a house that Delima has fixed and renovated over the years. Including, unsurprisingly, beautiful hardwood floors throughout.
Delima was proud to finish the Rainbow Room job especially since another person had backed out. The space, which has been featured or referenced in extensive movies, television and other pop culture, originally opened in 1934. With views of major Manhattan landmarks, the Rainbow Room hosts weddings and other exclusive events.
But Simone doesn’t think that her husband realizes the gravity of the work he just completed.
“I don’t think he has an idea of what he has done,” she said.
Architectural Digest listed the Rainbow Room as one of the 20 most beautiful wedding venues. Any other superlatives the venue receives going forward will be in part thanks to Delima’s dedicated craftsmanship.