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Thread: WTC Tower One - by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

  1. #14416

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    New York Post
    April 15, 2015

    WTF 1 WTC! It’s $32 just to walk into your restaurant?

    By Steve Cuozzo


    The ridiculous $32 fee to enter 1WTC’s new restaurant is a slap in the face to New Yorkers who helped pay for the gleaming spire.

    Some “Freedom Tower”!

    Getting into the “fine dining restaurant” at the top of One World Trade Center will be anything but free — and we’re not talking about what you’ll pay for food or drinks.

    Just to walk in the door will cost most visitors $32 a head — a fact buried in last week’s cheery announcement about the May 29 opening.

    That’s the price of admission to One World Observatory, the three-level (floors 101 through 103) viewing complex that swallowed One, the inventively named fancy eatery, and two other “curated” (whatever that means) food venues on the 101st floor — a “Bar and Grill” and a grab-and-go-style “Marketplace.”

    There’s no way to reach any of them without buying a $32 ticket to the observatory (seniors, $30; 6- to 12-year-olds, $26; under 5, free).

    That’s a helluva way to win the hearts and minds of the city’s noshing classes.

    As eater.com co-founder Lockhart Steele, who lives nearby, howls: “It’s crazy! As a downtown resident, we’ve had enough to deal with. I’m in favor of great new restaurants, but if you’re going to charge me $32 just to walk in the door, I’m not going to walk in that door.”

    Ordinary New Yorkers whose tax dollars helped pay to rebuild the World Trade Center should scream bloody murder.

    Astoria resident Ron Vega, 57, the 9/11 Memorial’s director of design and construction, fumes, “I don’t think it’s fair at all. I think it should be free, but nothing’s free at the Port Authority.” (Admission is free only to 9/11 family members and rescue and recovery workers.)

    Vega adds, “I just love that people complain about the $24 entrance fee to the memorial museum, but no one’s complaining about the $32 fee to the observatory.”

    Of course, they will, as word of the ripoff spreads. It might be even more expensive: The operators helpfully offer other options like a $54 “priority access and express admission,” which lets you jump the line.

    We don’t know anything yet about menus or the chef. But most people won’t care. It might surprise Legends Hospitality, which controls the place, that some people will want to try the restaurants but not the observatory (which, unlike those at 30 Rock, the Empire State Building and the old World Trade Center, does not even have an open-air deck).

    Maybe Legends never heard of Windows on the World, the beloved 240-seat celebration venue created by the great Joe Baum that reigned on the 107th floor of the old World Trade Center’s north tower from 1976 until 9/11.

    What a pity.

    Even though 1WTC’s new eateries are much smaller than Windows on the World and its satellite bars, New Yorkers yearn to reclaim the emotional kick of dining atop the World Trade Center, against the backdrop of heart-stopping west, north and northeast views. (The only way to recapture Windows’ grand scale is to get yourself invited to a bash in the 300-seat private dining room on the 102nd floor, set aside for hedge-funder-style blowouts.)

    We’d rather skip observatory stunts such as “time-lapse shots with abstract textures and patterns to present the unique rhythm and pulse of New York City.” (Never mind the clunky diction — can’t we just look out the window?)

    But the cover charge by any name means you can forget about casually popping in for a meal or a snack. Asked to comment on the price policy, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito tells us, “I hope they come to an agreement that makes it more affordable for families to experience.”

    That “experience” will entail a $128 cover charge for a party of four.

    Former Windows chef Michael Lomonaco, who today runs Porter House New York, notes, “At Windows, we ran several different restaurants. You could come up to the bar, have a soft drink and a burger, enjoy the views, and leave. There was never a cover charge.”

    Lomonaco was too polite to mention that there’s no cover charge at either the reopened Rainbow Room or its SixtyFive bar. Nobody going to them has to pay the $30 general admission to 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s Top of the Rock observation deck.



    One World Observatory’s restaurant ripoff is one of a kind.

    Legends Hospitality blames its $875 million contract with its landlords, the Port Authority and the Durst Organization. It requires Legends to operate the top three floors “first and foremost as an observatory,” a source says — but the exact lease language is a secret.

    So we’ll blame three poobahs quoted in the 2013 announcement of Legends’ contract: Legends CEO Dave Checketts, former PA chairman David Samson and Durst Organization president Jody Durst.


    Gang greed: The $32 fee was part of a deal agreed to by the following players: Dave Checketts, Legends chairman and CEO; Jody Durst, Durst Organization president; and David Samson, former Port Authority chairman.

    Former PA executive director Chris Ward put the kibosh on a Windows on the World second coming back in 2011, when he told The Post, “These things are always money losers.”

    One World Observatory’s eating venues will have fewer than 200 seats combined. They were designed to suck even more dough from observatory-goers, not to provide the spectacular venue that we deserve in order to celebrate the city’s triumph over terrorism.

    If Legends says otherwise, it can prove its good faith by deducting $32 from every customer’s food bill.

    New York City’s once-plentiful top-floor dining options have dwindled to just two. Long-gone Top of the Sixes, Top of the Park, Nirvana, 14 Wall Street and the Terrace weren’t about great food, but rather the singular pleasure of eating and drinking with the world’s most romantic skyline for a backdrop.


    “I think it’s wrong — $32 plus what you eat? It’s expensive over here anyways, so for me, I wouldn’t eat there,” says David Franco, a 39-year-old construction worker in the FiDi.

    Today, the Rainbow Room — open to the public just one night a week and for Sunday brunch — and the Marriott Marquis’ tourist haven the View are our only full-service, sky-high restaurants.

    Places in Time Warner Center and the Museum of Arts & Design afford nice Central Park views, but not breathtaking skyline vistas.

    To those who miss the Windows magic, Legends has a simple message:

    Eat your hearts out, suckers.

    2015 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved

  2. #14417
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    Terrible.

  3. #14418
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    I don't see what the big deal is. The only people hurt by this are the people who own the restaurant. So don't eat there!

  4. #14419
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    Trust, We won't.

  5. #14420
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    It would be fantastic if the whole site were boycotted. Of course that's not going to happen, the tourists will be tripping over each other to spend their vacation money and send home NYC selfies

  6. #14421

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    I wonder if you'll be allowed to bring a sandwich.

  7. #14422

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    There's a good chance that one of those 3 guys will get a federal indictment soon.

  8. #14423
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    This doesn't upset me too much. Were it a Windows On The World type restaurant it would, but I am guessing (It is Legends after all) that the food will be on par with the better food options found in major league ballparks. You have to by a ticket to have access to them as well, but I would never imagine actually wanting to just go inside the ballpark (and expecting to for free) to eat that type of food option, especially in a place like Manhattan with it's far superior options. I'll pay the expensive tickets to take my wife and kids to the observation deck this year, but we would save our dining options for an exceptional neighborhood restaurant either way over eating atop WTC 1

  9. #14424

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    The entire experience - observation and dining - will be inferior to the twin towers.

    Because of the transmission emitters, the north tower roof was inaccessible, so that's where they put Windows.

    The south tower was where you waited on a long line. There was an indoor observatory, had these seats below the raised floor right up against the glass, food and gift shops. No drama.



    Last time up there was Spring 2001, took friends visiting from California. They thought the top floor was the observatory, and were somewhat impressed. They were perplexed when I said, "Let's go on the roof." The experience for them was completely different.


  10. #14425

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    What did PA boss Chris Ward mean when he said "These things are always money losers" - Wasn't Windows on the World a very high grossing restaurant?

  11. #14426

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    There were times when it was great, and other times when it was a little less than great, but I don't recall ever reading anything about it losing money or needing a subsidy. At one time it was the highest grossing restaurant in the country.

    It was also iconic, a New York experience. Not a Tavern on the Green.

    Snippets of articles through the years: http://www.foodtimeline.org/windows.html

  12. #14427
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    Spring cleaning? 04.18.15

    tectonic

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  14. #14429

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    Awesome picture tectonic

  15. #14430

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    There were times when it was great, and other times when it was a little less than great, but I don't recall ever reading anything about it losing money or needing a subsidy. At one time it was the highest grossing restaurant in the country.

    It was also iconic, a New York experience. Not a Tavern on the Green.

    http://www.foodtimeline.org/windows.html
    I never cared for the restaurant. But its companion, the Greatest Bar on Earth, was really something special. What's replacing it is just an overblown snack stand.

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