A Mysterious Billionaire Might Save New York’s Iconic Central Park Boathouse | Architectural Digesy

Wether you’ve been to New York City or not, you probably recognize the Loeb Boathouse. An iconic restaurant sitting on the bank of Central Park Lake in Manhattan, the establishment has been featured in a slew of New York–based films like When Harry Met Sally, 27 Dresses, The Manchurian Candidate, and Enchanted. It’s a place many know and love, and resulted in a wave of disappointment when it was announced in July that the establishment’s current operator, Dean Poll, had plans to close the space in October, citing costs as the driving factor.

Now, according to a report in the New York Post, the Boathouse might have been saved from its unfortunate fate. As the Post shares, an unnamed billionaire offered a $6-million financing deal to Poll that would keep the lights on. The secret financier was apparently moved after reading an op-ed, also published in the Post, about the importance of saving the storied establishment. AD reached out to the Loeb Boathouse for comment, but has not received a reply at the time of publication. 

The Loeb Boathouse was designed by Stuart Constable and opened in 1954. 

Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images

Though now more famous as an eatery, the Boathouse was born from a functional need. In the 1860s, boating in Central Park Lake grew in popularity so much that a storage location was needed for the many vessels out on the water. Twelve years later in 1872, Calvert Vaux—Central Park’s landscape architect—built a two-story Victorian-style structure to fill the need. 

Vaux’s boathouse was replaced with something simpler in 1924, though it fell into disrepair by the ’50s. It was then that investment banker and philanthropist Carl M. Loeb stepped in and donated $305,000 to build the boathouse that stands today. The current neoclassical structure is most easily recognized for its green hipped and gabled roof and columned terrace brushing against the lake’s edge. 

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