Despite reports that the New York Four Seasons Restaurant could face a massive rent hike, we doubt the landmark eatery is going anywhere.
The Four Seasons continues to make headlines, from co-owner Julian Niccolini’s wry comments (“If you haven’t been insulted by Julian, you are nobody,” says one admirer) to reports of naked women swimming in its white marble pool for $5,000.
In fact, ever since it first opened in 1959, the Four Seasons has set the bar for fine dining among New York City’s elite, and served as the backdrop for some their most memorable moments.
Here are some the most glorious moments in Four Seasons history:
- When Norman Mailer threw himself a 50th birthday there in 1973. He charged couples $50 for admission, had over 600 guests, and made a poorly-received speech with obscene jokes, according to the Village Voice
- When the term “power lunch” was coined by Esquire to describe the Four Seasons’ vibrant business lunch scene. Then-editor-in-chief Lee Eisenberg reportedly came up with the term for a 1979 article.
- When John F. Kennedy had his 45th birthday party there, right before heading to Madison Square Garden where Marilyn Monroe sang her breathy “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” The restaurant still has a copy of the President’s birthday menu bound into the wine list.
- When the owners of rival football teams the Patriots and the Jets put their differences aside there after the Boston Marathon attack. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson greeted each other in the dining room, according to the New York Post.
- When Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters had Thanksgiving there in 2009. Martha and her daughter reportedly drank Hennessy with the co-owner, Julian Niccolini, the Post reported.
- When the Dalai Lama had lunch there in 2009. His meal was prepared by head chef Christian Albin, who died of cancer shortly after cooking for the high-profile guest.
- When a very pregnant Bethenny Frankel got married there in 2010. The cocktail mogul-turned TV show host exchanged vows with Jason Hoppy in the Pool Room, and two guys from the groom’s side jumped in the water during dinner.
- When Aretha Franklin serenaded Bill White and Bryan Eure at their 2011 wedding. The NY society couple invited 670 of New York’s most influential names, including former governor David Paterson, Barbara Walters, Gayle King, and Victoria’s Secret model Karolina Kurkova.
- When Princess Margaret ate there in 1965. She attended a midnight buffet party with her husband Lord Snowdon after a 20-day tour of the United States, according to the AP.
- When co-owner Alex Von Bidder wrote a children’s book about table manners. The book — titled “Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant” — follows a Chocolate Labrador puppy who “just can’t seem to mind his manners.”
- When President Obama ate there in 2010. The President was there for a fundraiser, but ate alone after the event — steak with sides of mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, according to the Post.
- When Prince Harry hosted a dinner there during his 2013 tour of America. He invited select members of New York society to the fundraiser, which aided the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
- When Johnny Depp came for a movie premiere with seven body guards. The movie star was one of co-owner Julian Niccolini’s favourite customers, according to the New York Observer.
- When Elton John threw his husband’s 49th birthday party there. 60 friends — including Barbara Walters, Calvin Klein, and Billie Jean King — had dinner in a private room with three cakes from Magnolia Bakery, the Post reported.
- When Richard Gere ate there in the movie “Arbitrage.” Gere played a cutthroat New York money manager, and in one scene he was escorted into the Four Seasons Pool Room by co-owner Julian Niccolini for a power lunch.
Can you think of any other momentous Four Seasons events or references in pop culture? Let us know in the comments.