Tag Archives: New York buildings

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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The Ransom Apartment

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This past December while in New York I dragged my boyfriend out to stalk Mel Gibson and Rene Russo’s Upper East Side apartment building from the 1996 movie Ransom.  I found this location in fave stalking book New York: The Movie Lover’s Guide.  The apartment building is very beautiful in person, with ornate stone balconies, large windows overlooking Central Park, and a green slate roof.  The building  just screams “wealthy”, so it is easy to see why producers chose to use it as the residence of Mel’s mega-millionaire character in the movie.  I actually haven’t seen Ransom  in quite a few years and I can’t remember exactly what his building looked like in the film, so I can’t say if it looks the same now as it did twelve years ago when filming took place. 

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But one thing I do remember from the movie is Mel’s huge stone balcony overlooking Central Park.  The balcony was featured several times in Ransom, most memorably as the place Rene Russo runs to after Mel screams at the kidnappers “Give me back my son!”  That balcony really exists on the top floor of the Ransom building and I can only imagine the views it must have!  The balcony seems much smaller in person than I remember it being in the movie, but that is most likely because it is located so high up.

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The Ransom building was built in 1917 by C.P.H. Gilbert, an extremely popular New York architect during the early 1900’s.  The boutique apartment building, designed in the Francois I style, was only the second upscale apartment building to ever be constructed on Fifth Avenue .  The building, although huge, consists of only 12 different apartments, one on each of the building’s twelve floors.  One is currently for sale at the bargain price of $12,950,000.  🙂  You can sneak a peek inside of the building at the apartment’s real estate website.  I’ve never considered myself at all voyeuristic, but I seriously can’t get enough of stuff like this.  Open houses, real estate websites, vacation rental sites, etc.  LOVE THEM! 🙂

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  🙂

Stalk It: The Ransom apartment is located at 1067 Fifth Avenue on New York’s Upper East Side.  It is situated almost directly next door to the Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece the Guggenheim Museum, which is located at 1071 Fifth Avenue.

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