The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park will close this fall

The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, an iconic restaurant and venue that has appeared in a number of movie classics and has been attracting New York tourists and high society for decades, will close on October 16.

Facility operator Dean J. Poll cited “increased labor and cost of goods,” according to a notice filed in July.

All of the Boathouse’s 163 employees will be out of work after it closes, said Mr Poll, who has run the restaurant since 2000.

“It’s a very difficult place to operate,” Mr Poll said. “It’s location, seasonality, access and expense,” he said of the restaurant, which is nestled near the eastern shore of Central Park Lake and not accessible to the public. by car.

And yet, while this could be the end of the road for the longtime restaurant, which has changed hands several times since it opened in 1983, the boathouse, which is one of 400 establishments located in the parks of the city, will not close permanently.

Department of Parks and Recreation officials plan to find a new operator for the Boathouse “as soon as possible,” department spokeswoman Crystal Howard wrote in an email. She also said the department was working “in good faith” with the current operator to accommodate those who have scheduled corporate events and weddings there.

Inflation has surged across the country as many New Yorkers grapple with soaring rent and food prices. Restaurants have been among the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs in the industry fell 70% from March to April 2020 in the city, and it has yet to recover, according to data from the New York State Comptroller’s Office.

The Boathouse previously closed on March 16, 2020 and Mr Poll then furloughed the workers. It announced in a notice in September 2020 that the Boathouse would remain closed for the foreseeable future. But the restaurant reopened in March 2021.

A spokesperson for the union which represents Boathouse workers said the decision to close in October was deeply disappointing and added that laid-off workers would be called back if a new operator takes over.

The current brick, multi-column boathouse, which opened in 1954 after investment banker and philanthropist Carl M. Loeb and his wife, Adeline, donated $305,000 to rebuild it, is the third version to exist since the late 1800s. The first, designed by Calvert Vaux in 1872, was a wooden Victorian structure which, by 1924, had been replaced by a simpler design, which fell into disrepair in the 1920s. 1950.

As a New York institution, the Boathouse has graced the big screen – from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ to ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ to ’27 Dresses’ – and has hosted the city’s elite, including Ivana Trump and Luciano Pavarotti.

The Boathouse is also an attraction for nature lovers and birdwatchers, many of whom record their sightings in a bird log located inside the boathouse lobby.

Ray DeCarlo, 75, has visited the Boathouse at least once a year for the past 20 years for an annual business conference. He said he liked the atmosphere of the Boathouse and the way it overlooked the water.

“It’s like you’re in New York, but you’re not in New York,” said DeCarlo, who lives in New Jersey and was in New York for the first time in three years because of the pandemic. “I am very disappointed.”

“There are so many things like this happening in the city,” Mr. DeCarlo said. “I don’t know where we go from here, but this isn’t the New York I know and love.”

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