Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse to close permanently

July 21, 2022

Image courtesy of ajay_suresh on Flickr

Loeb Boathouse, Central Park’s iconic lakeside restaurant which has operated for nearly 70 years, will be closing permanently on October 16. According to a notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) by the venue’s owner, the establishment will be closing its doors and laying off all of its 163 employees due to what owner Dean Poll calls, “rising labor and costs of goods.”

The boathouse first shut down in October 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and sat dormant until March 2021 when it staged a brief reopening and resumed dinner service, weddings, rowboat rentals, and more. Poll told Patch.com:

“Covid has nothing to do with anything. The volume was there, but the expenses just eat away at it.”

Poll continued: “The Boathouse is a beloved place in the city of New York, for New Yorkers are tourists alike—but the current economic situation does not permit to sustain itself.”

According to NBC New York, the NYC Parks Department is searching for a new business to take over the space and working with Poll to ensure that accommodations are made for customers who have already scheduled events there.

The Hotel Trades Council union, which represents the restaurant’s workers, will work to ensure that those employees who were laid off will be “protected and taken care of in terms of benefits and severance,” as the union’s spokesperson informed Patch.

In April 2018, the boathouse underwent a $2.9 million renovation that installed much-needed improvements, including more seating, flood-proof tile, new lighting, and better accessibility features. The renovation was part of owner Poll’s license agreement with NYC Parks, which required him to invest $6 million in capital improvements over the course of 14 years.


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