It was no great surprise when we found that the Empire State Building comes in seventh on a new scientific net-based list of the most photographed landmarks in the world (New York City is, by the same reckoning, the most photographed city on earth) . As you can see from a quick glance at our “Film + Travel North America, South America: Traveling the World Through Your Favorite Movies”, the 102-story, 1931 Art-Deco icon has been quite the star on the silver screen as well as a featured player in many a home movie. But really, what good is a landmark without a proper place to cultivate a buzz nearby? Moreover, how is one supposed to handle the hoards of tourists and fresh-faced lovers having their own “Sleepless in Seattle” or “An Affair to Remember” moments atop the storied tower without at least one or two well-mixed gin Martini’s in your belly? Until recently, the best place to load up before a trip to the top was the ground-floor vacationer’s flytrap of Heartland Brewery. But you aspire to better things, don’t you? Thankfully, as if its opening today, there’s now a bar at the Empire State Building worthy of the majestic structure.
The Empire Room, also on the ground floor of the tower, just got a lovely little write up in the New York Times and has received advance praise from such from sites such as Guest of a Guest and Eater. While we have yet to belly up to the bar or sample the new eatery’s steak, the decor alone is impressive enough to have us plotting a trip to the Art-Deco skyscraper. Owner Mark Grossich (who also gave us the beautiful Campbell Apartments in Grand Central Terminal has taken the most beloved elements of the lobbies, elevators and exteriors of the landmark and transformed them into a site that hearkens back to the 1930s forward-thinking class and elegance that was once synonymous with the Empire State Building (and Manhattan for that matter) but was somehow forgotten between the 1933 and 2005 versions of “King Kong” (the climax of the 1976 version happened at the World Trade Center, marking the building’s decline in popularity). Well no longer. At last, the most famous building in the most photographed city on earth has a place where we could actually imagine Carry Grant and Deborah Kerr from “An Affair to Remember” meeting for a drink.
To brush up on the tower’s cinematic history before a visit or get a full tour of the avenues and alleys of Manhattan via your favorite movie locations, pick up a copy of our “Film + Travel North America, South America: Traveling the World Through Your Favorite Movies”. To visit the Empire Room yourself go to:
The Empire State Building, Ground Floor
350 Fifth Avenue,
New York, New York, U.S.A.
Top: The Empire State Building courtesy of Walk in New York.
Bottom: The Empire Room, courtesy of the New York Times.