Windows on the World

Last updated

Windows on the World
Windows on the world logo.png
Restaurant information
EstablishedApril 19, 1976
ClosedSeptember 11, 2001
(destroyed in September 11 attacks)
Previous owner(s) David Emil
Head chef Michael Lomonaco
Street address 1 World Trade Center, 107th Floor, Manhattan, New York City, NY, U.S.
City New York City, New York
Postal/ZIP Code10048
Country United States of America
Seating capacity240
Website windowsontheworld.com

Windows on the World was a complex of venues on the top floors (106th and 107th) of the North Tower (Building One) 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 (4,600 m²) 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. [1]

World Trade Center (1973–2001) Former skyscraper complex in Manhattan, New York

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.

Lower Manhattan Central business district in New York, United States

Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of Manhattan, the central borough for business, culture, and government in the City of New York, which itself originated at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in 1624, at a point which now constitutes the present-day Financial District. The population of the Financial District alone has grown to an estimated 61,000 residents as of 2018, up from 43,000 as of 2014, which in turn was nearly double the 23,000 recorded at the 2000 Census.

A restaurateur is a person who opens and runs restaurants professionally. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who owns a restaurant, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of the restaurant business.

Contents

Operations

Interior of Windows on the World on November 4, 1999 Windows on the world restaurant interior, 1999.jpg
Interior of Windows on the World on November 4, 1999
View of World Financial Center from the Windows on the World dining room. World Financial Center from the Windows on the World restaurant.jpg
View of World Financial Center from the Windows on the World dining room.

The main dining room faced north and east, allowing guests to look out onto the skyline of Manhattan. The dress code required jackets for men and was strictly enforced; a man who arrived with a reservation but without a jacket was seated at the bar. The restaurant offered jackets that were loaned to the patrons so they could eat in the main dining room. [2]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

A more intimate dining room, Wild Blue, was located on the south side of the restaurant. The bar extended along the south side of 1 World Trade Center as well as the corner over part of the east side. Looking out from the bar through the full length windows, one could see views of the southern tip of Manhattan, where the Hudson and East Rivers meet. In addition, one could see the Liberty State Park with Ellis Island and Staten Island with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The kitchens, utility and conference spaces for the restaurant were located on the 106th floor.

Liberty State Park park located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey

Liberty State Park is a park in the U.S. state of New Jersey, located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, opposite both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The park opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations and is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry. Liberty State Park covers 1,212 acres (490 ha). The main part of the park is bordered by water on three sides: on the north by the Morris Canal Big Basin and on the south and east by Upper New York Bay. The New Jersey Turnpike Newark Bay Extension (I-78) marks its western perimeter.

Ellis Island Island in New York Harbor in New York and New Jersey, United States

Ellis Island is a federally-owned island in New York Harbor, within the states of New York and New Jersey, that contains a museum and former immigration inspection station of the same name. As the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954, it processed approximately 12 million immigrants to the United States through the Port of New York and New Jersey. Today, the island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, a U.S. national monument. The north side of the island hosts a museum of immigration, accessible only by ferry. The south side of the island, including the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is abandoned but accessible to the public through guided tours.

Staten Island Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. Located in the southwest portion of the city, the borough is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull and from the rest of New York by New York Bay. With an estimated population of 479,458 in 2017, Staten Island is the least populated of the boroughs but is the third-largest in land area at 58.5 sq mi (152 km2). The borough also contains the southern-most point in the state, South Point.

Windows on the World closed after the 1993 bombing, in which employee Wilfredo Mercado was killed while checking in deliveries in the building's underground garage. It underwent a US$25 million renovation and reopened in 1996. [3] [4] In 2000, its final full year of operation, it reported revenues of US$37 million, making it the highest-grossing restaurant in the United States. [5]

1993 World Trade Center bombing truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City

The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, carried out on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 lb (606 kg) urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to send the North Tower crashing into the South Tower, bringing both towers down and killing tens of thousands of people. It failed to do so but killed six people and injured over a thousand.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 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 most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Executive Chef of Windows on the World included Philippe Feret of Brasserie Julien, and the last chef was Michael Lomonaco.

Brasserie Julien

Brasserie Julien was a brasserie-style French cuisine restaurant located at 1422 Third Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, as well as a jazz club. The establishment closed at the end of 2012.

Michael Lomonaco is an American chef, restaurateur, and television personality. He is best known as the chef/director for Windows on the World, the restaurant located atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The restaurant was destroyed in the September 11th attacks, and all of the staff members who were working in the restaurant at the time of the attack died. Lomonaco survived because he was in the tower's lobby during the attacks and was then evacuated from the building. He has rebounded with the opening of Porter House New York, which was named by Esquire magazine one of America's Best New Restaurants in October 2006.

September 11 attacks

Windows on the World was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. That morning, the restaurant was hosting regular breakfast patrons and the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress. [6] World Trade Center lessor Larry Silverstein was regularly holding breakfast meetings in Windows on the World with tenants as part of his recent acquisition of the Twin Towers from the Port Authority, and was scheduled to be in the restaurant on the morning of the attacks. However, his wife insisted he go to a dermatologist's appointment that morning, [7] whereby he avoided death. Everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 penetrated the North Tower perished that day, as all stairwells and elevators leading to below the impact zone were destroyed immediately. Victims trapped in Windows on the World died either from smoke inhalation from the fire, jumping or falling from the building to their deaths, or the eventual collapse of the North Tower 102 minutes later.

Larry Silverstein American businessman

Larry A. Silverstein is an American businessman. Among his real estate projects, he is the developer of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan as well as one of New York's tallest residential towers at 30 Park Place, where he owns a home. His worth has been estimated at $3.5 billion as of 2016.

American Airlines Flight 11 9/11 hijacked passenger flight, hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center

American Airlines Flight 11 was a domestic passenger flight that was hijacked by five al-Qaeda members on September 11, 2001, as part of the September 11 attacks. Mohamed Atta deliberately crashed the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 92 people aboard and an unknown number in the building's impact zone. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 767-223ER, registration N334AA, was flying American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental service from Logan International Airport in Boston to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles.

Smoke inhalation is the primary cause of death for victims of fires. The inhalation or exposure to hot gaseous products of combustion can cause serious respiratory complications.

There were 72 restaurant staff present in the restaurant, including acting manager Christine Anne Olender, whose desperate calls to Port Authority police represented the restaurant's final communications. [8] 16 Incisive Media-Risk Waters Group employees, and 76 other guests/contractors were also present. [9] After about 9:40 AM, no further distress calls from the restaurant were made. The last people to leave the restaurant before Flight 11 collided with the North Tower at 8:46 AM were Michael Nestor, Liz Thompson, Geoffrey Wharton, and Richard Tierney. They departed at 8:44 AM and survived the attack. [10]

Critical review

In its last iteration, Windows on the World received mixed reviews. Ruth Reichl, a New York Times food critic, said in December 1996 that "nobody will ever go to Windows on the World just to eat, but even the fussiest food person can now be content dining at one of New York's favorite tourist destinations." She gave the restaurant two out of four stars, signifying a "very good" quality rather than "excellent" (three stars) or "extraordinary" (four stars). [11] In his 2009 book Appetite, William Grimes wrote that "At Windows, New York was the main course." [12] In 2014, Ryan Sutton of Eater.com compared the now-destroyed restaurant's cuisine to that of its replacement, One World Observatory. He stated, "Windows helped usher in a new era of captive audience dining in that the restaurant was a destination in itself, rather than a lazy byproduct of the vital institution it resided in." [13]

Cultural impact and legacy

Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund was organized soon after the attacks to provide support and services to the families of those in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries who had been killed on September 11 in the World Trade Center. Windows on the World executive chef Michael Lomonaco and owner-operator David Emil were among the founders of that fund.

It has been speculated that The Falling Man , a famous photograph of a man dressed in white falling headfirst on September 11, was an employee at Windows on the World. Although his identity has never been conclusively established, he was believed to be Jonathan Briley, an audio technician at the restaurant. [14]

On March 30, 2005, the novel Windows on the World, by Frédéric Beigbeder, was released. The novel focuses on two brothers, aged 7 and 9 years, who are in the restaurant with their dad Carthew Yorsten. The novel starts at 8:29 AM (just before the plane hits the tower) and tells about every event on every following minute, ending at 10:30 AM, just after the collapse. Published in 2012, Kenneth Womack's novel The Restaurant at the End of the World offers a fictive recreation of the lives of the staff and visitors at the Windows on the World complex on the morning of September 11.

On January 4, 2006, a number of former Windows on the World staff opened Colors, a co-operative restaurant in Manhattan that serves as a tribute to their colleagues and whose menu reflects the diversity of the former Windows' staff. That original restaurant closed, but its founders' umbrella organization, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, continues its mission, including at Colors restaurants in New York and other cities.

Windows on the World was planned to reopen on the top floors of the new One World Trade Center, when the tower completed; however, on March 7, 2011, it was cancelled because of cost concerns and other troubles finding support for the project. [15] But successors of Windows on the World, One Dine, One Mix and One Cafe, are located at One World Observatory. [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

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David Emil is an American restaurateur and New York State government official. At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, David Emil was the president of the company that owned and operated the restaurant Windows on the World on the 106th and 107th floors of One World Trade Center, New York, New York. All the employees and guests at the restaurant during the attacks lost their lives, 79 of whom were Windows on the World employees.

References

  1. "Trade Center to Let Public In for Lunch At Roof Restaurant". New York Times. April 16, 1976. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  2. Chong, Ping. The East/West Quartet. p. 143.
  3. "New Windows on a New World;Can the Food Ever Match the View?". The New York Times. June 19, 1996. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  4. "Windows That Rose So Close To the Sun". The New York Times. September 19, 2001. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  5. The Wine News Magazine Archived 2012-02-20 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Risk Waters Group World Trade Center Appeal".
  7. "Larry Silverstein: Silverstein Properties". New York Observer. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  8. "'We need to find a safe haven,' WTC restaurant manager pleads". USA Today. August 28, 2003. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  9. "Risk Waters Group archived home page". Archived from the original on August 2, 2002.
  10. "9/11: Distant voices, still lives (part one)". The Guardian. London. August 18, 2002. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  11. Reichl, Ruth (December 31, 1997). "Restaurants; Food That's Nearly Worthy of the View". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  12. Grimes, William (October 13, 2009). Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 281. ISBN   978-1-42999-027-1.
  13. Sutton, Ryan (June 30, 2015). "Everything You Need to Know About Dining at One World Trade". Eater NY. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  14. Henry Singer (director) (2006). 9/11: The Falling Man (Documentary). Channel 4.
  15. Feiden, Douglas (March 7, 2011). "Plans to build new version of Windows on the World at top of Freedom Tower are scrapped". Daily News. New York.
  16. "One Dine". One World Observatory.