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Windows on the World vs. World Yacht: Anyone tried either??

  • p

Help! The relatives are coming and want a "quintessential" New York experience...after talking them out of Tavern on the Green, we're left with Windows on the World or World Yacht Cruises. Haven't found much on either on these boards...and though they're certainly not typical Chowhound picks (I *know* I can getter better food elsewhere, but we're going for ambience/views as well), I was wondering if anyone had tried either recently and might offer their thoughts?
Thanks for any help,
Pam

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    Jason "I am the Walrus" Perlow

    I've been to Windows on the World on several occassions but all of them have been for trade show parties. Yes the view is incredible, and even more intresting if you do it during a lightning storm. The food is, well, ok. To tell you the truth, I probably wouldnt bother with the food there, and just take the standard World Trade Center tour and do someting else. Or better yet do the Empire State Building tour, theres a helluva lot of better restaurants in the midtown area. OR -- Take the WTC tour and then hang out in Chinatown or Little Italy. Theres tons of great places there.

    World Yacht... dunno. I didnt even know that they served food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jason "I am the Walrus" Perlow

      "World Yacht... dunno. I didnt even know that they served food."

      They don't! They just process (mostly) organic matter through a kitchen-like procedure. It's hideous.

      I once was forced to go and eat on World Yacht (had to review 'em). I very nearly jumped over the rail, intending to swim back. My date had to grab me and force me not to. It was not a good night.

      ciao

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Agreed. It stinks. And to make matters worse, you're stuck there for the whole 3 hours!

        1. re: Valerie

          I haven't eaten on World Yacht, but the food at Windows is pretty good, particulary at the smaller Wild Blue. View is Great. BUt if you are taking relatives from out of town, and food is not the major issue, I would go with the boat anytime. The skyline at night is spectacular, and as an earlier post mentioned, you can go up on deck and just hang out afterwards.

    2. I took a dinner cruise on the World Yacht not too long ago, and while you are right in saying it is not a typical Chowhound pick, the food was better than I thought it would be (& definitely better that Tavern on the Green - yuck!). I don't remember exactly what the price was, but it is supposed to include the dinner (not drinks) plus the cruise itself. When you see the menu, the more luxurious offerings (both apps & entrees) generally have an extra charge attached to them. You can eat a full meal without paying any extra charge, but it will not include the better choices on the menu. I would also recommend arriving early. We got to the boat an hour early, and were immediately seated right next to a window (a great view!). This trend appeared to continue as more folks arrived, until the window seats were all gone. By the time the boat actually left the dock, we had already made our meal selections, and had finished our appetizers. This left us with plenty of time to go out on the deck & take in the full view. The boat departs from somewhere in the west forties, sails around the Battery & up to the east forties, then back down to the Statue of Liberty, then back to the dock (three hours total). There is also music & dancing, & men are required to wear jackets. There were plenty of tourists on board, which was understandable because the views of the NYC skyline were outstanding. It would be perfect for what you have in mind. Just pray for good weather!

      1. Was at Windows several years ago and thought it was OK, adequate, etc. Not great, not bad. I would probably prefer to be there rather than stuck for several hours on a boat. Note that for either option, I would check the weather. Going to WOW for a touristy experience will be disapointing if it's fogged in.

        7 Replies
        1. re: rjka

          I'm remembering an account of a horrendous experience by someone at a dinner held on a world yacht - it was raining and they were trapped inside with exceedingly loud music for the whole time trip. The meal didn't figure in the story at all. Stop the boat - I wanna get off!

          1. re: jen kalb

            Yeah, I forgot the music. Ugh, the music.

            A friend of mine was actually playing in the band the night I was there. He grinned sheepishly and shrugged helplessly. The universal musician-to-musician gesture that means "hey, gotta make a living".

            I really was seriously entertaining the idea of jumping off. No kidding.

            Strangely, by the way, I met the captain, and he's a very knowledgable chowhound-type from Union City. I had the tact not to ask whether he ever eats on board. I'm willing to bet he doesn't.

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Okay, you've convinced me.
              It's back to the drawing board.
              So, Jim and other connoisseurs, I fall to my knees at your mercy....if you have to take out of town visitors eager to go somewhere that would impress their friends, yet you do not want to betray your own chowhound principles (i.e. the food cannot suck and the location should not prompt you to suicidal urges), where oh where do you go??
              I have heard one vote for the River Cafe. Anyone else like it? Any other suggestions?
              Again, I'm most grateful for the avalanche of replies!

              1. re: Pam

                Wild Blue, the steakhouse down the hall from Windows, is actually good, not just by top-of-building standards but by exacting New York steakhouse standards. Great lamb chops and grilled rib chops; giant copper pans of fried okra and onion rings; butch salads.

                And the mammoth wine list (shared by Windows) is one of the best in New York, with a ton of bargains in Burgundies and Rhones if you know what to look for. The view is unfortunately in the wrong direction, but Brooklyn (plus the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, glamorous Bayonne) can be beautiful by night too...

                1. re: Pam

                  A slight touch of vertigo has prevented me from visiting Windows on the World, though I liked Michael Lomonaco's cooking at "21" Club. And I've heard such incredibly mixed things about World Yacht, that I've hesitated. . . .

                  But I'd say if you can afford Windows on the World, you should try a place I discovered last May that sounded iffy, but turned out to be an experience that actually brought tears to my eyes.
                  And it would really fulfill several optimal requirements: THE view, a boatride (NOT 3 hours--more like 10 minutes), and--trust me--absolutely first-class food. It is NOT cheap, but prices compare with Windows on the World. It's a place in Long Island City (Queens) called Water's Edge, accessible by a special chartered little ferryboat that leaves a little dock at 34th Street and the East River every 20 minutes or so, and transports you utterly to a riverside sprawling restaurant with acres of viewing seats. It's important to time matters so that you will be sitting just before and during the sunset, hopefully on a clear night with cirrus clouds spread out high above the cityscape. The view is absolutely spectacular, including all of Midtown from an Eastern vantage point (obviously), which means the UN, the Citicorp building, and most of the most dramatic sections of the Manhattan skyline.

                  More important, the food is extraordinary. The chef is Joel Somerstein, and he's cooked under Jeremiah Tower (in SF) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (in France)--in fact, all over France
                  (including in a pair of Michelin three-star restaurants).

                  Again, it is expensive. There are several prix-fixe menus, starting at $55 for three courses, all the way up to about twice that for five courses with five wines from one of the biggest wine lists I've ever seen. One of the best bouillabaises I've ever tasted, duck that just left me grinning helplessly like an idiot, and the wine!!

                  When the clouds undergo a succession of magenta casts, and the lights of all those skyscrapers begin to flicker on, it really is breathtaking. I don't know anyone else who's been there, but my significant other and I were thrilled.

                  1. re: Tom Steele

                    Perhaps this post belongs on the outer boroughs board, but as Queens residents, the b/f and I are big fans of Water's Edge for special occasions when we feel like splurging. The wine list is excellent, as is the view. The menu changes seasonally. If you are there when Arctic char is offered, definitely order it.

                    While the setting is romantic, *do not* go to the Water's Edge on Valentine's Day, when the place is jammed, the staff is overwhelmed and inattentive, and they limit the menu in order to deal with the high volume.

                    We had a wonderful time there on my birthday in June. Our table was outside and, as if to order, there was an impromptu fireworks show across the water in Manhattan.

                  2. re: Pam

                    What can you tell me about River Cafe and where is it?

            2. a
              andrew reibman

              I tell almost all my friends from out of town to go to Windows on the World, but not for a meal. In fact, once or twice a year we go ourselves for a drink after work. Just go up to the bar. You still get the great view, and can watch the lights come on.
              The bar isn't bad (of course its not a good bar either), slightly overpriced, with bad bar food, but with ok beer on tap. Get the view, have a drink, then go eat somewhere decent to eat.

              1. Hmmm, I'm not THAT anti either of these places--food excepted (world yacht - OOF), I've had GREAT times at both, but neither is a "quintessential NY experience."

                The fundamental problem with World Yacht is that you're sitting & eating dinner the whole time, probably not against a window, so you get more of a 'boat' experience on the Staten Island ferry. There IS something luxurious, esp. for a non-new Yorker, about having a faux-gourmet meal on a yacht floating up & down the Hudson River, but it's more for a goofy lark on a rich friend's dime.

                The fundamental problem with Windows on the World is that it's more about the bar - sometimes fine, sometimes lousy with drunken 21-year-old Wall Streeters. Unbelievable view, but go for an afternoon cocktail and maybe bar snacks. As for dinner there, once you get over the view, you're left with that weirdly stale vibe that most top-of-large-structure restaurants have.

                I've never been, but what about River Cafe? Much better & more romantic views of Manhattan than anywhere IN Manhattan.

                Nils