Windows on the World, the Twin Towers and the Restoration of New York
Publisher Abrams Books, 2019
On the streets of Manhattan, you see it around you; the people who move briskly with purpose and the ones who can barely take a step; it is a city of exploding manholes, miles of scaffolding and cracks in the sidewalk but also a place where fresh cement is poured every day, new neighbors are always moving in and posh restaurants appear overnight.
And anyone who walks down Broadway and looks up to see the current World Trade Center towering over New York City is instantly reminded of what once was. On 9/11, we lost a sense of invincibility but not our unrelenting drive to move forward, progress, innovate, to dazzle and be dazzled; that human hunger for more.
This book will put that all on the page through the telling of the 25-year life of Windows On The World, from its inception to its destruction, its architects, busboys, chefs and Joe Baum, a man who had the chutzpah to never look down and to thrive during a nadir of New York City’s worst days. He dreamed up a restaurant that was nothing less than a Versailles in the Sky. The story of Windows On The World is one of nightly near-disasters and soaring so close to the sun.
“Much more than a history of a restaurant spectacular for its views, Roston has woven together a riveting history of New York City since its near collapse in the 1970s and intriguing stories about the restaurant business. The terrible tragedy of 9/11 looms, but there is also a heartening theme of how even the worst architectural excrescence can be transformed by people and imagination. The World Trade Center was cold and ugly from its inception, but its restaurant was magical.” — Paul Freedman, author of Ten Restaurants That Changed America