Windows on the World

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Windows on the World
Windows on the world logo.png
Restaurant information
Established April 19, 1976
Closed September 11, 2001
(destroyed when North Tower collapsed)
Head chef Michael Lomonaco
Street address One World Trade Center (107th floor)
City New York City, New York
Postal code/ZIP 10048
Country United States of America
Seating capacity 240
Website windowsontheworld.com
View of World Financial Center from the Windows on the World dining room.

Windows on the World was a complex of venues at the top floors (106th and 107th) of the North Tower (Building One) of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan that 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 2001 when they were destroyed in the September 11 attacks.[1]

Operations[edit]

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.[2]

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. The bar's dress code was more relaxed and it had average prices.[citation needed] 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 and utility spaces for the restaurant were located on the 106th floor.

Windows on the World closed after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which employee Wilfredo Mercado died. It underwent a US$25 million renovation and reopened in 1996. 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.[3]

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

September 11 attacks[edit]

Windows on the World was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. At the time of the attack on the World Trade Center, the restaurant was hosting regular breakfast patrons and the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress.[4] Everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 penetrated the North Tower perished that day, as all stairwells leading to below the impact zone were blocked immediately. Victims trapped in Windows died either from smoke inhalation from the fire, jumping or falling to their deaths, or the eventual collapse of the North Tower 102 minutes later.

At the time of the attacks, 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.[5] 16 Incisive Media-Risk Waters Group employees, and 76 other guests/contractors were also present.[6] 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.[7]

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,[8] whereby he narrowly avoided certain death.

Post-9/11 aftermath[edit]

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, but his identity has never been conclusively established, although he was believed to be and identified as Jonathan Briley.[9]

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,[10] 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.

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 due to cost concerns and other troubles finding support for the project.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trade Center to Let Public In for Lunch At Roof Restaurant". New York Times. April 16, 1976. Retrieved October 15, 2009. 
  2. ^ The East/West Quartet
  3. ^ The Wine News Magazine
  4. ^ "Risk Waters Group World Trade Center Appeal". 
  5. ^ "'We need to find a safe haven,' WTC restaurant manager pleads (archived)". USA Today. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Risk Waters Group archived home page". Archived from the original on August 2, 2002. 
  7. ^ York, New (August 18, 2002). "9/11: Distant voices, still lives (part one)". The Observer (London). Retrieved November 16, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Larry Silverstein: Silverstein Properties". New York Observer. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Henry Singer (director) (2006). 9/11: The Falling Man (Documentary). Channel 4. 
  10. ^ http://www.colors-newyork.com/

External links[edit]