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Top of the Tower

Feb 10th, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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While there are several restaurants in New York that I LOVE, there is one in particular that stands out far above the rest. That restaurant is named the Top of the Tower and it is located on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower Hotel. Although the Top of the Tower has been one of my favorite places in all of New York for several years now, I had yet to blog about it because up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize it was a filming location – in one of my dad’s favorite movies no less! Two weeks ago, while looking at the Top of the Tower website, I noticed a small section mentioning that it had been used in film and video shoots. So I asked Mike, from MovieShotsLA, to call up the hotel to ask what exactly it had been featured in. For some reason making phone calls like that absolutely terrifies me. I love speaking with people face to face, but phone calls – ugh. Mike, on the other hand, dreads the face to face, but likes making phone calls. LOL What can I say – we make the perfect team. :) So anyway, Mike called up the Beekman Tower for me and found out that among other things, the exterior of the hotel was featured in the Matt Damon flick The Bourne Supremacy. And voila, a blog post was born. :)

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The landmark art deco style Beekman Tower Hotel was built in 1928 by John Mead Howells. The building’s many ornamental Gothic details were designed by sculptor Rene Chambellan. The building, which was previously named the Panhellenic Tower, was originally built as an affordable apartment complex for recent female college graduates belonging to the Greek, or Panhellenic, system – hence the name. According to the book One Thousand New York Buildings, the Panhellenic instantly became a landmark building as it was “a perfect example of vertical force”. The twenty-six story building housed 400 separate living spaces, a roof solarium with 360 degree sweeping views of Manhattan (that space is now the Top of the Tower restaurant), and a cocktail lounge. Not bad for affordable housing, huh? :) The Greek Alphabet, which was carved just to the left of the building’s entrance, is still visible to this day. In 1964 the Panhellenic was sold to a private company who turned it into a regular apartment building. In the early 90s the building was sold once again and was completely renovated and remodeled and turned into the upscale, all suite Beekman Tower Hotel. You can view some great photographs of the Panhellenic Building here.

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The Beekman Tower has had several brushes with celebrity. Katharine Hepburn’s sister was a resident of the Panhellenic Tower in its early years and Ms. Hepburn visited the building frequently. The photo shoot for Jennifer Hudson’s March 2007 cover story for Essence Magazine took place at the Top of the Tower. You can see behind the scenes pics of that photo shoot here. In November of 2008, a party to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” album was also held at the Top of the Tower. And as I mentioned earlier, the exterior of the Beekman was used in the filming of The Bourne Supremacy.

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I really can’t recommend stalking the Top of the Tower enough! The food is amazing – the mashed potatoes and mushroom risotto are some of the best I’ve ever had! – the art deco ambiance is beautiful, and the service is perfection. But more than anything else, it is the breathtaking views that set this restaurant apart. The Top of the Tower has some of the most amazing views I have ever experienced in my life – especially at night when the city lights make New York extraodinarily spectacular and romantic. If you only have one night to spend in Manhattan, the Top of the Tower is the place I’d┬áspend it.

Until next time, Happy Stalking! :)

Stalk It:The Beekman Tower Hotel is located at 3 Mitchell Place, at the corner of 1st Avenue and 49th Street, in New York City. You can visit their website here.

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One comment

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  1. Gary Mortimer says:

    So very glad I found you again! I was in your restaurant MANY years ago and loved it. The food, the view, all of it! I must come back again.


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