Tavern on the Green – a restaurant in Central Park, at West 67th Street, Upper West Side.
A landmark of New York city, an 80s movie icon – seen in Heartburn, Ghostbusters, Wall Street and, of course, Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors and New York Stories.
I have been there – I loved it – even though it was in dire need of a facelift and a new menu.
I shared the experience with my husband, and wonderful British friends we met on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, doing the Trans-Atlantic crossing from London to New York.
From its humble beginnings in 1870 as a sheepfold, when it housed 200 sheep that grazed in the park, to its emergence as one of Manhattan’s signature restaurants (opened in 1936 during the Great Depression and revived in 1976) the Tavern on the Green has gamely evolved with the times, which explains its perennial popularity with both locals and visitors.
Until the new century however, when it became a little less stylish than its days of film fame. And although tourists like myself still paid exorbitant prices for very ordinary food and service, the locals began to feel ashamed of what had become of it. A New Yorker, upon hearing that I’d dined there for lunch, actually apologised to me for the state of the place and said that all New Yorkers hoped it would soon be taken over and looked after properly.
Sadly, the restaurant served it’s last meal on 31st December 2009 and became the Central Park Visitor Centre. As the article from the New York Times says, it has now closed the visitor centre in order to commence the US$9.8 million renovation to restore the building to a restaurant, with nothing set in concrete as to who has won the bid to take over the 20 year restaurant and bar license.
The Tavern on the Green won’t be the same however, without the legendary Crystal Room, built in 1976, which was torn down last year.
I am very pleased I travelled to and ate at this little piece of New York history, took some photos and bought a couple of t-shirts to remember the event.
Do you have any wonderful memories of Tavern on the Green, or other iconic restaurants seen in movies?