Tag Archives: Jennifer Hudson

The Beekman Tower Hotel

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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 you should spend 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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“And Your 40s Are To Pay For the Drinks!”

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Another day, another SATC  location.  🙂  One of the must-see locales of my NYC stalking vacation was the bar where Carrie Bradshaw and her personal assistant, Louise, drank Bellini’s and commiserated over their broken hearts in Sex and the City: The Movie.  The bar used in the film is called Bemelman’s and it is located inside the famed Carlyle Hotel on New York’s Upper East Side.  According to fave book Sex and the City: The Movie, the SJP flick was the very first production ever allowed to film inside the legendary bar.    It is at Bemelman’s that Carrie gives Louise this sage piece of advice: “Enjoy yourself – that’s what your 20s are for.  Your 30s are to learn the lessons.  And your 40s are to pay for the drinks!”  🙂  Love it!  🙂

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Bemelman’s is named after the creator, illustrator, and author of the popular Madeline children’s book series, Ludwig Bemelman, whose murals adorn the bar’s many walls.  Over fifty years ago, the Carlyle Hotel commisioned Bemelman to paint large scenes of animals frolicking in Central Park on the walls of their lobby bar.  Instead of being paid for this feat, Bemelman and his family were given free room and board at the luxury hotel for a year and a half.   Not a bad deal!  🙂 Bemelman’s Bar has long been a favorite of both celebrities and native New Yorkers alike.   In fact, SJP is a longtime fan of the Carlyle in general.   She spent many an evening at Cafe Carlyle, the hotel’s cabaret restaurant, while dating then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick.  In fact, the two even spent their honeymoon at the Carlyle.  🙂  Currently Bemelman’s is a favorite stomping ground of Suri Cruise, who regularly attends the Saturday children’s tea with her famous mom. 

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to grab a cocktail in Bemelman’s during this New York vacay – so many places to stalk, so little time.  😦  But I did pop my head in for a little looksie.  The cocktail waitress even let me take some pics at the bar area, even though photographs are typically not allowed.  From what I saw in the few minutes I was there, Bemelman’s looks like a very cool place to grab a drink and it’s easy to see why producers chose it for a little SATC  filming.  The bar is dark, intimate, cozy, and so very New York.  It even features a 24-carat gold leaf ceiling – I’m not kidding!   And to commemorate the filming that took place there in late 2007, Bemelman’s even named a drink after SATC’s  leading lady.  “The Bradshaw” is a mixture of Don Julio Blanco tequila, lime juice, cane sugar simple syrup, and X-Rated Passion Fruit Liquor.  The drink is, of course, pink and  is served in a martini glass dusted with pink sugar.  Love it!

Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂

Stalk It: Bemelman’s Bar is located at 35 East 76th Street, inside the famed Carlyle Hotel.

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