My first real job in New York City was as a host at The Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram’s building. It has been a New York institution for some 55 years and the design of both the Bar and Pool rooms, by Philip Johnson (who officed upstairs up until his death) are classics of modern design. (They don’t look like much in pictures, but in person, they are mega-chic and almost imposing.) You enter on the ground floor and come up into the Bar Room, which is connected to the Pool Room, by a long hallway with “Le Tricorne,” a Picasso wall hanging, along one wall. The famous Picasso will exit the restaurant at midnight tomorrow. The focus of a nasty dispute between Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen’s RFR and the Landmarks Conservancy, it has been in the New York news of late: Rosen wanted to move the art, the Landmarks Commission said it was too fragile. In June, they agreed to move it to the New York Historical Society, at Rosen’s expense, where experts from Art Installation Design and Auer’s Rigging will use special equipment restoring it. Four Seasons co-owner Julian Niccolini (who was there when I worked there some 34 years ago!) said this of the piece;
“…it will be here for the next few days. During that time, we’ll enjoy it and give it the standing ovation it deserves after nearly six decades as the backdrop of wild parties and quiet moments when families celebrate life’s milestones. Everyone is welcome to stop in and see it before it leaves.”
Actually, one more now… and will it ever return? And what of the other rumor that Rosen also wants to evict The Four Seasons and open his own restaurant in the same space? He would be slightly more popular in this town, if he bought the Statue of Liberty and painted a logo on it. Note: After its restoration, the mural will be on display permanently at The New York Historical Society.