While the first rotating dining hall may have been during the reign of Nero, the first we are familiar with launched in 1959. The technology was astounding, the view of the changing landscape was charming, and dining in one of these restaurants was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And that was often because once you’ve dined in one, there’s no reason to do it again. After all, motion sickness is not the greatest appetizer.
I surveyed some friends on what they thought of revolving restaurants. Most said they’d never tried one, while one friend summed her thoughts up succinctly: “Against. Nausea. Perverts. Bad food. ” These places, once awe-inspiring, now seem out-of-date and hokey. What was once classy is now camp.
Which brings us back to Nero. The emperor was the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, a line begun when Augustus took over after the assassination of Julius Caesar. The early Julio-Claudians were impressive leaders, winning wars and developing policies. Nero, on the other hand, was vestigial, an over-the-top, expensive barnacle on the empire. Suetonius writes: “Above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob… He had a longing for immortality and undying fame, though it was ill-regulated.” Though Nero fostered innovation in engineering and the arts, at the end of the day, he was a self-centered egomaniac for whom the love of the people was paramount.
You can still find rotating restaurants if you want to try one. Read about the structures and the reasons behind them at Lucky Peach. -via Digg