August 23, 2016


Over the years, Tudor City offered many outdoor perks ‒ private parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, an ice skating rink, a beer garden, and an open-air theater. One of the least known was one of the most short-lived: a rooftop restaurant atop No. 25, Tudor Tower.

Detail of newspaper ad, July 26, 1936

The Roof Garden, more formally known as the Tudor City Roof Restaurant, was a seasonal enterprise, dependent on the weather. It operated for two years, the summers of '36 and '37, as a casual spot with an equally casual menu, supplied by No. 25's onsite Coffee Shop. No one was paying much attention to the food, though, given its spectacular view of Midtown (below).

As for the Tudor City Open Air Theater, it was most likely put on by local residents, featuring outdoor movies (the "Flicker Frolics") and local actors (the Police Gazette Players). Set on the corner of the lot that's now home to No. 2, it was one of many community groups ‒ a camera club, a cub scout troup, weekly bridge tournaments ‒ popular in Tudor City in its early days.
Above, a postcard of the rooftop restaurant, postmarked August 30, 1937. The marquee skyscrapers in the background have been helpfully spelled out by the sender.

The message reads: This is the Roof Garden that you did not have time to see Saturday. Hope you can see it the next time.

Setting up for the season, 1937