Joe Baum

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Joseph Harold Baum (August 17, 1920 – October 5, 1998) was an American restaurateur and innovator responsible for creating the country's first themed restaurants, including masterpieces such as The Four Seasons Restaurant, Windows on the World, and the restored Rainbow Room. He was the first restaurateur to bring the finest contemporary architects, artists and designers into his restaurant designs.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

The Four Seasons Restaurant

The Four Seasons is a New American cuisine restaurant in New York City located at 42 East 49th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Until 2016, it was located at 99 East 52nd Street, in the Seagram Building in Midtown Manhattan. The restaurant is owned by the Bronfman family, Alex von Bidder, and Julian Niccolini.

Windows on the World complex of venues in the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan

Windows on the World was a complex of venues on the top floors of the North Tower of the original World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. It included a restaurant called Windows on the World, a smaller restaurant called Wild Blue, a bar called The Greatest Bar on Earth, and rooms for private functions. Developed by restaurateur Joe Baum and designed initially by Warren Platner, Windows on the World occupied 50,000 square feet of space in the North Tower. The restaurants operated from April 19, 1976 until September 11, 2001 when they were destroyed in the September 11 attacks.


Early life and career

Joseph Harold Baum was born to Leo and Anna Baum in Saratoga Springs, New York, where his parents ran the Gross & Baum hotel. He graduated from high school in Lakewood Township, New Jersey in 1938 and went on to earn a degree from Cornell University in hotel management in 1943. After college, he served in the United States Navy aboard a destroyer-minelayer in the South Pacific. [1]

Saratoga Springs, New York City in New York, United States

Saratoga Springs is a city in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The population was 26,586 at the 2010 census. The name reflects the presence of mineral springs in the area, which has made Saratoga a popular resort destination for over 200 years.

Lakewood Township, New Jersey Township in New Jersey

Lakewood Township is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States.

Cornell University private university in Ithaca (New York, US)

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

In 1946, he went to work for Harris, Kerr, Foster & Company in Manhattan and took over the management of one of its hotels, the Monte Carlo, in 1947. In 1949, he was hired by the Schine hotel chain in Florida. Several years later, he was hired by Rikers Restaurant Associates (later shortened to Restaurant Associates) to open and manage a restaurant at Newark Airport called the Newarker, which became famous for its elegant dining, grandiose portions, and over-the-top flambée.

Restaurant Associates

After Baum's success at the Newarker, he took over the specialty restaurant division of Restaurant Associates in 1955, attracting talented individuals such as Stuart Levin, George Lang, Alan Lewis, Tom Margittai, and Paul Kovi to run the company's themed restaurants. Baum spared no expense, hiring top architects, designers, and consultants such as James Beard and Julia Child. He went on to become president of the company. The portfolio of restaurants grew to over 130 by 1965 and included La Fonda Del Sol, Zum Zum, the Hawaiian Room, Quo Vadis, the Trattoria, the Brasserie, the Forum of the Twelve Caesars, [2] Tavern on the Green, and The Four Seasons Restaurant.

James Beard American chef

James Andrews Beard was an American cook, cookbook author, teacher and television personality. Beard was a champion of American cuisine who taught and mentored generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. His legacy lives on in twenty books, other writings and his foundation's annual James Beard awards in a number of culinary genres.

Julia Child American chef

Julia Carolyn Child was an American chef, author and television personality. She is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.

Tavern on the Green

Tavern on the Green is an American cuisine restaurant located in Central Park in Manhattan, New York City, near the intersection of Central Park West at West 66th Street on the Upper West Side. The restaurant has been open under current operators Jim Caiola and David Salama since 2014. From its grand opening in 1934 to its closure in 2009, the iconic restaurant changed ownership several times. From 2010 until 2012, the building was used as a public visitors center and gift shop run by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After a multimillion-dollar renovation, Caiola and Salama's Tavern on the Green reopened to the public on April 24, 2014.

Independent work and the Rainbow Room

Baum left Restaurant Associates to consult on his own, often working with Arthur Emil. His projects included developing the 22 restaurants in the World Trade Center, including Windows on the World at the top of the North Tower. His other projects included development of restaurants in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Hallmark Cards Crown Center in Kansas City, and Place Bonaventure in Montréal. In 1986, he opened his own restaurant in New York City called Aurora. It remained open for five years.

World Trade Center (1973–2001) complex of buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States

The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It opened on April 4, 1973 and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers — the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m) — were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center, 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex was located in New York City's Financial District and contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.

Place Bonaventure building in Quebec, Canada

Place Bonaventure is an office, exhibition, and hotel complex in Downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada, adjacent to the city's Central Station. At 288,000 m2 (3,100,000 sq ft) in size, Place Bonaventure was the second largest commercial building in the world at the time of its completion in 1967.

In 1987, after a two-year $25 million renovation backed by David Rockefeller, Baum reopened the Rainbow Room in New York's Rockefeller Center. Baum also redesigned Windows on the World in 1996, a destination restaurant on the 107th Floor of the World Trade Center. During Baum's tenure, Windows on the World became the highest grossing restaurant in the world until its destruction on September 11, 2001.

David Rockefeller American banker and philanthropist

David Rockefeller was an American banker who was chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation. He was the oldest living member of third generation of the Rockefeller family and family patriarch from August 2004 until his death in March 2017. Rockefeller was the youngest child of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and a grandson of John D. Rockefeller and Laura Spelman Rockefeller.

Rainbow Room

The Rainbow Room is a private event space on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Rockefeller Center, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Run by Tishman Speyer, it is among the highest venues in New York City. The Rainbow Room serves classic and contemporary American cuisine.

Rockefeller Center mixed-use building complex in New York City

Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (89,000 m2) between 48th and 51st Streets, facing Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The 14 original Art Deco buildings, commissioned by the Rockefeller family, span the area between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, split by a large sunken square and a private street called Rockefeller Plaza. Five International Style buildings, built later, are located on the west side of Sixth Avenue and at the north end of Rockefeller Plaza.

Baum died on October 5, 1998, at the age of 78 due to prostate cancer. [1]

Prostate cancer male reproductive cancer

Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow relatively quickly. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other areas of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages, it can lead to difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or pain in the pelvis, back, or when urinating. A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cells.


Baum was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America Hall of Fame in 1995.

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  1. 1 2 Grimes, William. "Joseph Baum, American Dining's High Stylist, Dies at 78", The New York Times , October 6, 1998. Accessed February 9, 2011. "After graduating from high school in Lakewood, N.J., in 1937, he worked for two years as a busboy, waiter and cook in hotels in New Jersey and Florida to earn tuition money to attend Cornell University, where he earned a degree in hotel administration in 1943."
  2. Andrew Coe Archived 2007-03-03 at the Wayback Machine . "Roman Mosaic Found in Midtown Manhattan: A Glimpse into the Lost Civilization of A.D. 1957" American Heritage, Oct. 2006.