The Historic Central Park Boathouse Restaurant Has Closed and Laid Off 163 Staff

Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images – Getty Images

From Town & Country

If the return of fall has given you the urge to reenact the iconic New York moments of When Harry Met Sally, there’s at least one landmark from the film you’ll have to mark off your list. The lakeside restaurant at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, which has been a tourist attraction and New York mainstay since 1954, has officially closed its doors due to “unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19,” according to a filing with the Department of Labor.

It joins the ranks of hundreds of other bars and eateries that have been forced to shutter amid the pandemic—the New York Times reports that nearly a third of the almost 3,000 New York City businesses that have closed since March are restaurants.

As part of the closure, the restaurant has reportedly laid off all 163 of its previously furloughed employees.

Though indoor dining recently returned to the city at 25% capacity and outdoor dining was instituted earlier this summer, sources told the New York Post that the approximately 200-seat restaurant has chosen not to reopen because it relies on heavy tourist traffic and large parties to break even. With the decreased capacity and slow tourist season, it was evidently felt that a reopening was not financially viable.

The restaurant is licensed to owner Dean Poll through the NYC Parks Department and is contracted to pay up to $1.702 million or 7.2% of gross annual receipts, whichever is greater, each year for the lease, up to $22 million. However, Parks Department spokesperson Megan Moriarty has said that the city hasn’t billed the restaurant for the fee since the government-ordered March shutdown.

While the layoffs are apparently permanent, Poll told the Post that, “the Boathouse will reopen next season in April.”

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