Last night the park was filled with patriotic and scantily clad runners… and The Naked Cowboy. Hundreds of men and women wearing only underwear (and in many cases crazy wigs, capes, body paint and American Flags) gathered to kick off the New York City Marathon by running 1.7 miles. Here’s what you missed:
The new Tavern on the Green will not resemble the former storied Warner LeRoy restaurant at all. It’s best to get that out of the way right off the bat. Yes, it’s sad, but the great thing about New York is that legends are born all the time. More on that if you take our tour.
It’s been two and a half months since the deadline for proposals to run the new incarnation of the restaurant were due and we’ve heard precious little about who will take over the iconic location. In February of this year, the city invited approximately one hundred restaurateurs to take a tour of the restaurant and learn about their plans for the site, “a casual restaurant, outdoor café, and bar that will honor the original design intent of the Olmsted and Vaux park plan and exist in harmony with its naturalistic park setting.” A ten million dollar renovation will soon restore the building to its original design as a sheepfold. After restoration, it will be approximately 30,000 square feet, nearly half its recent size. The new restaurant will not be allowed to hang lights, play loud music after ten, shut down for private events, or be open after 1am (when the park closes).
This did not sit well with many of the attendees, notably Donald Trump. It is just too small a deal now,” Trump told the New York Times. “Nobody is going to go there.” Trump had planned to rebuild the the Crystal Room. The New York Times wrote a rather detailed article with quotes from many who decided not to submit proposals for the restaurant. The article was quoted by bloggers the internet over claiming that “nobody good will bid on Tavern on the Green” or “only two restaurant groups are interested in running the property.” This may be the case, but it may not.
As we mentioned, about one hundred restaurateurs were invited to take the tour and the Times article mentions nine of these groups, seven of which weren’t interested and two of which were. This means there are a number of groups out there who may have put in bids. Until we’ve heard who is awarded the location, we’re going to compile a list of those who are interested, not interested, and otherwise.
Legends Hospitality:Legends runs the concessions and food and beverage departments for Yankee Stadium, and while they are responsible for some delicious garlic fries, it’s hard to imagine what sort of restaurant they would bring to the table.
Beau Monde: This Philly based restaurant group is responsible for a successful French creperie. However, one has to wonder if they would be able to thrive in New York City, particularly when they might have to work with the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, the union that formerly represented staff at Tavern on the Green and currently represents workers at The Boathouse.
City Winery: The Gotham branch of this Chicago and New York wine bar operates in SoHo and makes its own wine.
B&B Hospitality: Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Joe Bastianich’s restaurant group.
Dave Arnold: of the French Culinary Institute and Booker & Dax bar at Momofuku Ssam Bar
Michael O’Neal: Owner of the Boat Basin
Drew Nieporent: Of Corton and Nobu fame.
Orient-Express Hotels: Owner of the “21” Club;
The Glazier Group: Owns Michael Jordans, Bridgewaters at the South Street Seaport.
Bill Telepan: chef at Telepan
Lawry’s: The steakhouse chain
Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick: of Torrisi Italian Specialties
Dean Poll: Operator of the Boathouse
Donald J. Trump
The New York City Fire Department put out a fire in the Brentmore apartments yesterday. The 12 story apartment is across the street from Central Park and home to several celebrities including actor Robert Deniro, Lorne Michael of Saturday Night Live legend, and actress Celeste Holm.
In typical New York fashion, the New York Daily News called the fire a “blaze” making it sound like the residents were lucky to be alive while the New York Times called it, a “small fire.” Their interview with Celeste Holm’s husband was particularly amusing. He said of his older wife, “She’s sharp, she’s active. This didn’t get us down at all,” he said. “We’re going to go see ‘Once’ on Broadway.”
In their documentary The Central Park Five, David Mac Mahon, Sarah Burns and Ken Burns examine the case of the Central Park rape. In the late 1980s, the story triggered strong emotions in New-Yorkers and a sensational media storm across the US. It turned out to be a tale of racial injustice.
The 80s was a time of great renewal for Central Park. At the beginning of the decade, The Central Park Conservancy was newly established to revitalize what had become a vandalized, neglected, and dangerous 843 acre park. Rapes and murders commonly occurred in the park in the 70s and the Conservancy was determined to reclaim the area. However in 1989, despite all of the progress made in the park, a heinous rape and assault of a woman named Tricia Meili occured. Five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and convinced even though there were was poor evidence and no eye witnesses. Years later, a serial rapist named Matias Reyes confessed to the crime and the Central Park Five, no longer teenagers, were released from prison.
In their new documentary, David Mac Mahon, Sarah Burns and Ken Burns tell the story of the proceeding, the failure of the media and officials, and the racial tension that ultimately put five innocent men behind bars. If you happen to be in France tonight, you can pop by the Salle du Soixantième at 7:45pm for the screening. But, if you’re with us in the city, you’ll have to wait until PBS releases the film in 2013. Luckily, there are some great clips of the film on the Cannes website: