A mysterious New York billionaire has arrived at the eleventh hour with a $6 million bid to save the beloved Central Park Boathouse.
Sources said the White Knight power broker stepped in after reading Steve Cuozzo’s Aug. 12 column in The Post about how we need to save the Big Apple landmark.
Operator Dean Poll had said he had no choice but to close the Central Park restaurant on October 17 due to soaring costs.
The billionaire then approached Poll with a deal to fund the renovation of the iconic property and keep it open under his current contract with the city.
Cuozzo had written how the shutdown would be a tragedy for New York. Either way, this is bad news for the city.
“A darkened boathouse would leave a heartbreaking hole in the park at a time when New York’s green lung needs all the healthy, law-abiding human traffic it can handle.”
The Boathouse, rebuilt in the 1950s, is magically located on the east shore of the scenic Central Park Lake.
Poll, the Long Island-born restaurateur known for saving Gallagher’s Steakhouse from closure in 2013, took over the Boathouse in 2000 but recently said he had no choice but to close, blaming the rise skyrocketing food prices, linked to inflation, combined with punitive labor costs. .
He had announced he would close the Boathouse on October 17 at the cost of 163 union jobs, after trying to pressure Local 6 into swallowing the job cuts, among other freebies.
But sources say the billionaire’s pledged investment puts Poll in a better negotiating position with the city and the Parks Commission by including renovation plans for the property.
An insider said: ‘Much of the billionaire’s investment would go into renovating the Boathouse, including a new roof. This means the property would retain the current operator and none of the current workers would be made redundant.
“Also, there would hopefully be no requirement to invite other restaurateurs to present, a process that could have left the property closed for years.”
The insider added that Poll’s attorneys presented the new plan to the city at a meeting on Monday, and he’s waiting to hear if it might be cleared up.
A spokesperson for Poll and the New York Parks Commission did not return the calls.