Central Park Boathouse returns this week with a new look, a new menu and a $2.9M makeover

April 27, 2018

Image: Andrew Batram via Flickr

The Central Park Boathouse restaurant has been spruced up with $2.9 million in renovations and upgrades and is perfect-date-ready just in time for outdoor weather. The New York Post reports that the familiar structure near the park’s Fifth Avenue entrance at East 72nd Street has gotten much needed capital improvements like more seats (185 instead of 160) a new flood-proof tile floor and insulated glass that keeps the lakefront chill out along with a contemporary new look, new colors and lighting and better sightlines of the Central Park West skyline and rowboats gliding by. Even better, there’s more room for customers at the new ADA-compliant bar.

“It will feel like a porch overlooking the lake,” said owner Dean Poll, who has owned the restaurant since 2000. Though it certainly will make the space more Instagram-worthy, the big fix-up hasn’t been just for looks. The establishment has an obligation to the city to maintain and upgrade the structure.

The restaurant operates under a license agreement with the Department of Parks & Recreation, with a contract that requires Poll to invest $6 million in capital improvements; the contract has 14 more years to go, and the redesign has required about half that amount. The rest will go toward outdoor patio upgrades that are pending Landmarks Preservation Commission approval.

The boathouse, for its part, pays the city an annual fee of up to $1.702 million or 7.2 percent of gross annual receipts (whichever of those is the greater amount) up to $22 million. Percentages rise when revenues top $22 million. “We have exceeded our minimum every year,” Poll said.


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