Wine-loving New Yorkers awoke today to an upbeat but nostalgic note: Freedom Tower, the successor to the World Trade Center, could have a sky-high restaurant like Windows on the World.

The New York Times reports that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is constructing the new 1 World Trade Center, has invited developers ‘to design, construct, operate and manage a 34,000-square-foot restaurant on the 100 and 101st floors.’

Like Windows, 1,250 feet above street level, the new restaurant, to open in 2013, would offer a 360-degree panorama.

A center for wine and food and Kevin Zraly’s famed Windows on the World Wine School, the former restaurant was destroyed in the terrorist attack.

Zraly, whose 25 years at Windows ended with the attack, and who has continued the school in a midtown hotel, said ‘to be involved in another restaurant there is not in the cards.’

He recalled that he had been there during the first bombing of the World Trade Center, in 1993, which shut down Windows for three years. A new restaurant might replace Windows, he said, but it could not replicate the essence of the Windows mystique.

Beginning in 1976, Windows – alone among major Manhattan restaurants – demystified wine: first, European; later, Californian. Until 8:48 am on 11 September 2001, Windows sold 10,000 bottles a month and had 1,400 bottles on its list. Its 50,000-bottle cellar was atomized.

Its banquet and meeting rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows were rented for tutored tastings, commercial showcasing and wine producers’ dinners. The trade, public and critics poured in to sample, learn, judge and plan orders for thousands of the world’s wines.

On Windows’s final business day, its US$37m annual revenue made it America’s top-grossing restaurant.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York