Cast away: Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse announces permanent layoffs

Iconic restaurant has been closed since March

Central Park Boathouse and Dean Poll (iStock, Wikimedia)
Central Park Boathouse and Dean Poll (iStock, Wikimedia)

An iconic Central Park restaurant closed since March has permanently laid off its 163 employees.

The Loeb Boathouse, situated on the southeast side of the lake, disclosed the move in a notice filed with the state Department of Labor, The City reported. Those workers had been furloughed since the start of the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the city Parks Department said the property could reopen under the city and state’s restaurant guidelines. It’s unclear if the closure will be permanent; sources told The City that the venue may reopen in April 2021, but that there isn’t a firm plan in place. The notice filed with the Labor Department called the closure temporary.

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The restaurant’s owner, Dean Poll, spent $2.9 million in 2018 to renovate, and has a 15-year concession agreement with the Parks Department. He also owns Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan, which reopened at the end of September.

New York’s restaurants and bars continue to struggle as the pandemic enters its seventh month. A recent report from the state comptroller’s office found that half of the restaurants that were open before the pandemic may eventually close.

While restaurants can continue outdoor dining year-round, some restaurateurs are worried that addition won’t be enough to sustain them through the winter. Current capacity restrictions on indoor dining may not be able to fill the gaps for struggling businesses.

Central Park’s other famous restaurant, Tavern on the Green, also remains closed. [The City] —Amy Plitt