Need An Engagement Ring–Try A Vending Machine

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A new set of vending machines has been installed in one of America’s most famous office buildings. Put in by the owner Tishman Speyer, they contain expensive Brooks Brothers shirts, sandwichs, and cookies. They also include an item for people who want to propose marriage but are short on time.

The six machines are in Rockefeller Center, a complex of buildings in mid-Manhattan the construction of which lasted from 1930 to 1939. The original construction was made up for 14 Art Deco buildings financed by the billionaire Rockefeller family. The tallest building in the complex is 66 stories and was once among the tallest buildings in the world. A series of concourses runs under the buildings. That is where the vending machines are. The most expensive item in them is a diamond engagement ring, which sells for $800. So far, no one has put the money into the machine to get one.

The machines are called The Vend. According to The New York Post, EB Kelly, managing director of Rockefeller Center said, “We have people who might need something first thing in the morning or later at night when other stores are closed.” Presumably, in case someone wants to propose very early in the morning.

Just down the concourses from the $800 engagement ring are several stores which sell ones which are much more expensive. Jeweler Louis Martin sells rings at its Rockefeller store which cost as much as $13,000. At the northernmost end of the complex is Tiffany’s flagship store when engagement rings sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Not many places in America have diamond rings which cost that much. New York is among the 25 most expensive cities to move to but is not as expensive as some California cities.

Time will tell whether the $800 diamond engagement ring is simply a PR stunt or novelty. For the time being, it has only been a way to get the vending machines a lot of attention.