Despite its interior landmark status and role as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot, the Four Seasons has been facing an uncertain future for the past year. In May, a small victory was had when the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Aby Rosen’s plans to re-conceptualize the Philip Johnson-designed space, but it was short-lived, as Crain’s now reports that the Four Seasons will close its doors on July 16th after serving New Yorkers since 1959. Rosen did not renew the lease and plans to replace the restaurant with what will be considered a more “hip” eatery. As the Post shares, of-the-moment restauranteurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick (of the Major Food Group and trendy restaurants like Parm and Dirty French) signed to take over and partner with Rosen, who will increase the rent to $3 million a year.
Four Seasons co-owner Alex von Bidder said they’ll remain closed for about a year, but then relocate to somewhere in the immediate vicinity. In the meantime, the restaurant will host a week of festivities before its final day, including charity dinners and a reception for “house-account customers.” This will be followed by an auction of some of the iconic furniture such as coffee pots and Dover sole pans designed by Ada Louise Huxtable and chairs and tables from Philip Johnson.
The saga started last March when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen began circulating design changes for the iconic space (created by starchitect Annabelle Selldorf) ahead of the lease’s end on July 21, 2016. The restaurant’s co-owners vehemently opposed any such changes, as did the the larger preservation community and architects like Robert A.M. Stern, who spoke out against the plans, calling them “ill-advised” as “it is one of the great rooms in New York, and one of the few great modernist rooms.” Rosen was under no obligation to renew the lease, but since the space is a landmark, many of the original design and architectural elements will have to remain.
As for the Four Seasons’ future, von Bidder said “What we’re hoping is that absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you don’t have us, maybe you’ll miss us and you’ll come see us.” A year ago, he and co-owner Julian Niccolini were in talks with nearby skyscraper 280 Park Avenue about a move, but other outlets speculated that they’d head to lower Manhattan. Though there’s been no comment on these possibilities, the team did note that “great design” will factor into any new home.
The last meals for the public will be on July 15th and 16th, and a staff party will be held on the 17th.
- Four Seasons Renovation Plans Shot Down by Landmarks Preservation Commission
- The Four Seasons: An Iconic Interior Landmark Faces an Uncertain Future
- The World’s Largest Picasso Finds a New Home in the City
Neighborhoods : Midtown East