The restaurateurs came from Venice, Italy, to open Harry Cipriani in 1985 near the southeast corner of Central Park. “It has been a go-to place for the smart set, for the rich, the chic and the shameless,” says David Patrick Columbia, publisher of the New York Social Diary Web site.
The Rainbow Room lease was acquired in 1999. In today’s environment, the $8.7 million annual rent the landlord wants would be hard for anyone to cover, says Julian Niccolini, managing partner of the Four Seasons, the 50-yearold Manhattan power-lunch spot. “It will be a very long time before people throw that kind of party that you can make it profitable again,” he says.
As the U.K., surrounded by the sea, considers its options for renewable energy, harnessing the power of the tides is beginning to look attractive. To cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the country might even- 4 tually get 5 percent of its electricity from tidal power, says the Carbon Trust, a government-funded research organization.
The world’s largest tidal current turbines reached full power in December in strong sea currents at the mouth of the Strangford Lough, an inlet southeast of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The project can produce 1.2 megawatts, or about half as much power as a state-of-the-art offshore wind turbine. “Once we’re able to go for bigger projects, the cost will come down,” says engineer Peter Fraenkel, co-founder of Marine Current Turbines Ltd., which built the Strangford Lough facility.
The company’s next plan is for seven tidal generators to be installed off the Welsh island of Anglesey, yielding 10.5 megawatts. Fraenkel, 67, promises that costs can be made competitive with offshore wind energy. (Tidal power today is about twice as expensive, so might need to choose cash loans.) If he succeeds, his technology will have an advantage: Wind is fickle, while the tides roll in and out twice each day, as predictably as, well, the tides.