The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, a popular restaurant and location that has appeared in a number of movie classics and has attracted tourists from New York and high society alike for decades, will close its doors on October 16.
The foundation’s operator, Dean J. Paul, noted “rising labor and merchandise costs,” according to a notification filed in July.
Paul, who has run the restaurant since 2000, said all 163 Pothouse employees will be out of work after it closes.
“It’s a very difficult place to work,” said Mr. Paul. “It’s location, seasonality, access, and expense,” he said of the restaurant, which is tucked away near the eastern shore of Central Park Lake and inaccessible to the public by car.
However, while it may be the end of the road for the old restaurant, which has changed hands several times since it first opened in 1983, the Boathouse, one of 400 properties located in the city’s parks, will not be permanently closed.
Officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation plan to find a new operator for the Boathouse “as soon as possible,” Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the department, wrote in an email. She also said the department is working “in good faith” with the existing operator to accommodate those who have scheduled company events and weddings there.
Inflation is soaring across the country, with many New Yorkers facing soaring rents and groceries. Restaurants have been among the sectors hardest hit amid the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs in the industry fell 70 percent from March to April 2020 in the city, and it has yet to recover, according to data from the New York State Comptroller’s Office.
The Boathouse was previously closed on March 16, 2020, and Mr. Poole was furloughing workers at that time. It was announced in a notice in September 2020 that Boathouse would remain closed for the foreseeable future. But the restaurant reopened in March 2021.
A spokesman for the union representing workers at Boathouse said the decision to close in October was very disappointing, and added that laid-off workers would be recalled if a new operator took over.
The current brick and multi-column harbor, opened in 1954 after Karl M. Loeb, the investment banker and philanthropist, and his wife, Adeline, donated $305,000 to rebuild it, the third version in existence since the late 1800s. The first, designed by Calvert Vaux in 1872, was a Victorian timber structure replaced by 1924 with a simpler design, which had been damaged by the 1950s.
As a New York institution, the ship has been honored on the silver screen — from “When Harry Met Sally” to “The Manchurian Candidate” to “27 Dresses” — and has hosted the city’s elite, including Ivana Trump and Luciano Pavarotti.
The Boathouse is also a magnet for nature lovers and bird watchers, many of whom record their sightings in the bird log located within the harbor lounge.
Ray DiCarlo, 75, has visited the Boathouse at least once a year for the past 20 years for an annual business conference. He said he loved the atmosphere of the harbor and how it looked out over the water.
“It’s like you’re in New York, but you’re not in New York,” said Mr. DiCarlo, who lives in New Jersey and was in New York City for the first time in three years because of the pandemic. “I am very frustrated.”
“There’s a lot of that going on in the city,” said Mr. DiCarlo. “I don’t know where to go from here, but it’s not the New York I know and love.”