View of New York City out the floor to ceiling windows of Windows on the World
Diners experience the coveted views of New York City through the glass panels of Windows on the World. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Today we remember those lost in the tragedies of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and those who risked and gave their lives to help others. The buildings themselves were mirrors of the innovation and determination found within their workers. Like those who once walked into the front doors every day, the Mid Century Modern architecture of the World Trade Center’s famous restaurant, Windows on the World, reflected the hopeful grit of the American spirit.

Sunrise comes through the windows, highlighting the red hues of the furniture.
The rising sun peeks through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows right before the restaurant starts another bustling day. Photo courtesy of WTC Research Organization.

Windows on the World

Windows on the World was a restaurant located on the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower. By 2000, it had become the United State’s highest-grossing restaurant, earning a whopping $37 million during its last full year of operation. It had offshoots destinations such as The Greatest Bar on Earth and Wild Blue, a smaller restaurant. Rooms were also available to rent for private functions.

True to its name, guests dining at the restaurant were treated not only to culinary delights, but to stunning views of New York’s cityscape. While lunching on a plate of marinated bluefish with toasted sesame, diners looked out over bustling streets and bridges far below, shrunk down to miniature figures seemingly worlds away.

Cellar in the Sky has a back wall of circular wine racks behind a cozy dining scene.
Cellar in the Sky is a wine experience branched from Window on the World’s wine school program, run by Kevin Zraly. Photo courtesy of Baum + Whiteman.

MCM Architecture

William Platner was the original designer behind Windows on the World’s grand look. With floor-to-ceiling windows, multi-level platforms and gold bar accents, he captured the contemporary feel of mid century charm without sacrificing seating. This creativity was reflected in another offshoot experience, Cellar in the Sky.  The dark-wood tables and patterned accent walls blended a unique fusion of nostalgia and modernized glam.

Windows on the World was designed with leather-backed cushions and what looks like cherry-red velvet chairs, making dining both stylish and comfortable. The metallic lines of the handle bars paired with the organic wood tabletops are classic mid century choices, backed by thick paneled windows that give the restaurant its iconic views.

Remember the beauty, the architecture and innovation. But most of all, remember the passionate hearts and minds behind it all.

Looking to be inspired by one of MCM’s most famous historical architects? Take virtual tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic sites.

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