It's A Landmark but do you want to eat there?

From The New York Times

April 3, 2007
Historic Dining, At Least Architecturally
By Frank Bruni

In tomorrow’s Dining section I re-review the restaurant the Four Seasons, which has been around since 1959. And as I perused past newspaper and magazine stories about the restaurant, giving myself a refresher course on its history, I was reminded that its interior is actually an official city landmark, designated as such by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Not many restaurants bask in that particular glory, and the Four Seasons in fact occupies a special place even among that pantheon, in that it isn’t a restaurant merely placed in an already landmark-worthy setting. It’s a restaurant that created a landmark setting.

The commission designated it such in 1989, said Elisabeth de Bourbon, the commission’s director of communications.
I asked Ms. de Bourbon if she could run through the other city restaurants or bars that have interiors or exteriors designated as landmarks.

In terms of interiors, both Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station are in this exclusive club, and both have membership in large part for the same reason: those amazing Guastavino tile ceilings.

Wolfgang’s used to be Della Robbia Bar, also known as the Crypt, which was part of the Vanderbilt Hotel. The construction of the bar was completed in 1913, Ms. de Bourbon said.
That same year, she said, marked the completion of Grand Central Terminal, where you find the Oyster Bar.

She noted that Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn — a restaurant that’s gone now, transmogrified into a TGI Friday’s — was designed in 1892 inside a building that went up in 1875.In 1975 the restaurant’s interior received landmark status. Which means that the TGI Friday there is, well, a landmark. “But not because of the food,” Ms. de Bourbon clarified.

Just two years ago, landmark status was bestowed — in aggregate — upon the Edwardian Room, the Oak Room, the Bar and the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel. Like the Four Seasons, Ms. de Bourbon said, those rooms were indeed built to be used for dining and drinking, not rooms that evolved into restaurants over time.

But their fates are unclear as the Plaza is being transformed largely in to condominiums.

The exterior of the restaurant Fraunces Tavern is a designated landmark; the structure dates back to the 1700’s, though it was redone in the early 1900’s.

The Queensboro Bridge, including the underbelly that encompassed the restaurant Guastavino’s, which is now open only for private events, is a landmark, too.

Posted Under: Interior Landmark

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