Famed Central Park Boathouse Restaurant Lays Off Entire Staff and Shows No Signs of Reopening

The Boathouse. Photo by gigi_nyc.

The Loeb Boathouse, the iconic restaurant off of The Lake in the middle of Central Park, has filed notice with the city to lay off all of its workers, and their union says the restaurant is not reopening, according to The City news site.

The restaurant at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, long the site of lakeside lunches and picturesque weddings, is shutting for the foreseeable future, according to union officials representing workers and a state notice of layoffs there.

The owner of the park eatery, restaurateur Dean Poll, had furloughed workers there in March at the start of the pandemic, the Department of Labor notice said. But those layoffs “will now be considered permanent,” according to Sept. 8 filing.

Poll did not respond to The City’s request for comment, and it could presumably come back: it has permission to reopen “to the extent it can operate in accordance with the applicable state COVID-related guidelines,” a Parks Department spokesperson told THE CITY.

A lone worker leaving the locked and darkened Boathouse on Friday told THE CITY that Poll hopes to reopen the restaurant in April. A separate source with the workers’ union, the Hotel Trade Council Local 6, confirmed Poll had mentioned that idea recently. But no reopening plan has emerged.

Poll is also facing legal issues. “Poll is the subject of a federal class-action lawsuit filed in 2018 alleging staff at the restaurant stole wages and harassed workers. That case is pending. Attorneys for the plaintiff did not return a request for comment,” THE CITY reported.

The city hasn’t been charging Poll rent during the pandemic. The Boathouse is also in charge of the concession for the rowboats on The Lake, which aren’t operating now.

The Boathouse is a well-known wedding venue and has shown up in movies like When Harry Met Sally:

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 9 comments | permalink
    1. moose says:

      They should let us use the rowboats
      Too many turtles though

    2. soldier says:

      Any (good) news on Saiguette?

    3. Karen L. Bruno says:

      Death by a thousand cuts.

    4. your_neighbor says:

      Big tourist destination.
      No tourists = no business
      Not much different than all the tourist oriented shops that have closed in midtown which probably lost thousands of employees in total.

      Hopefully they or someone else opens up in 2021

      • Nostalgist says:

        Re: “Big tourist destination. No tourists = no business”
        True, but it wasn’t just for tourists: we locals (self+spouse) love the park, and a pleasant afternoon stroll there often meant a stop at the outdoor section of The Boathouse for a snack (awesome French Fries!) and people-watching.
        That’s all gone, as is the outdoor seating at Le Pain Quotidian overlooking The Sheep Meadow.
        As the song says: “Those were the days my friend / We thought they’d never end….”

    5. anonymous says:

      No rowboats until summer 2022, maybe.

    6. A says:

      The long lasting aftereffects of the Trump administration’s handling of COVID 19 crisis will continue to tear down businesses, large and small, for a long time to come! TIME TO VOTE HIM OUT!!!!!

      • Joey Listig says:

        Wow..if a tree falls in the forest it’s Trump’s fault. It’s views like this that will ensure NYC’s demise!