The The Four Seasons Restaurant: An Iconic Manhattan Destination

The Four Seasons Restaurant

The Four Seasons Restaurant sans the Rothko paintings (Rothko withdrew from his commission due to the pretentiousness he saw in the establishment)

The Four Seasons Restaurant, situated in mid-town Manhattan and designed by world-famous architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, is associated with a number of culinary milestones.

It is credited with introducing the idea of seasonally-changing menus to America. It was also the first destination restaurant to print its menus in English. Finally, it was the first restaurant in the US to cook using fresh, wild mushrooms rather than the dried offerings that were more common in the 1950s.

Just as it is know for its culinary milestones, the restaurant is also known for well-heeled clientele and its high visibility, power lunches.

I decided to highlight the restaurant in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, in order to bring out the sharp divisions between the powerful and the poor in the US.

Perhaps this is why Rothko, the famous modernist painter, when asked to create a series of paintings for the interior of the famed restaurant, said that he wanted to make “something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room….” And he added that he hoped his painting would make the restaurant’s patrons “feel that they are trapped in a room where all the doors and windows are bricked up, so all they can do is butt their heads forever against the walls.”

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