Central Park Boathouse to shutter as financials sink iconic restaurant
Owner cited rising labor, supply costs for restaurant’s October closure
Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse is shuttering again, but this time it appears the doors will close for good.
Owner Dean Poll filed notice with the state that the restaurant would close by Oct. 16, Bisnow reported. The closure will result in all 163 employees being laid off. Poll cited in the filing rising labor and goods costs as the reason for the permanent closure.
“The Boathouse is a beloved place in the city of New York, for New Yorkers and tourists alike — but the current economic situation does not permit it to sustain itself,” Poll told Patch.
Poll didn’t blame Covid, noting the expenses of running the restaurant were putting the long-term future of the boathouse at risk prior to the pandemic.
The last two years didn’t help, though. The restaurant closed at the onset of the pandemic and laid off all of its employees in October, months after they were all furloughed. The closure was said to be temporary, however, and that proved true when it reopened in March 2021.
Poll spent $2.9 million in 2018 to renovate the property. He had a 15-year concession agreement with the Parks Department; the owner had to pay the city either 7.2 percent of gross receipts or a fee of about $1.7 million, according to Crain’s. He has been operating the boathouse for more than two decades.
Poll also owns Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Midtown.
The boathouse dates back to the 1950s, named for the investment banker who helped fund its construction. It has become an iconic part of Central Park, serving as a backdrop for lunch and dinner service, in addition to movies, television shows and private events.
The Parks Department is on the hunt for a new operator for the space. A spokesperson said Poll and the department would work in “good faith” to accommodate events already on the schedule; the two parties were set to talk on Thursday.
— Holden Walter-Warner
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