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Thursday, December 29, 2011
No. 99

Parks Releases Request For Proposals For Operation Of Casual Restaurant At Tavern On The Green

Parks & Recreation today announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the operation and maintenance of a high-quality casual restaurant and outdoor café at Tavern on the Green, located in Central Park just west of the Sheep Meadow near 67th Street.

“Tavern on the Green has long been one of the city’s most unique settings and today marks a new chapter in its life. Now is the right time to re-envision the historic space and give it a new look and a new use,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “We look forward to proposals for the creation of a casual restaurant and outdoor café that everyday park goers, neighbors and visitors can enjoy. This is a unique opportunity for a concessionaire to establish a fresh take on an eatery in an iconic location, and create a destination will attract and delight all park patrons.”

All proposals submitted in response to this RFP must be submitted by no later than Friday, March 30, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. Parks will hold a recommended proposer meeting and site tour on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.

At Tavern on the Green, Parks envisions 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. The building is currently being restored by the City to a smaller, more historic footprint. The City is performing significant structural and exterior work, allowing a future concessionaire the opportunity to focus on building out the interior to meet their specifications. Parks will evaluate proposals based on several specific criteria listed in the RFP, including the planned operations for the restaurant, the proposer’s operating experience, the plans for capital improvements, the fee offered to the City, and the proposer’s financial capability.

Central Park attracts over 37 million visitors annually, making it one of the most popular destinations in New York City and the most visited park in the world. It is a recreational and economic hub of activity for New York City’s millions of residents and visitors. In addition to ballfields, gardens, lakes, bicycling and running paths, outdoor performance venues, tennis courts, ice skating rinks, a zoo and carousel, Central Park hosts dozens of dining options, from the iconic hot dog carts to specialty food carts, outdoor cafes and a high quality restaurant.

Tavern on the Green, originally known as the Sheepfold in Central Park, was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould and constructed in the latter half of the 19th century. It is one of the city’s finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture and one of the park’s most treasured landmarked buildings. The preliminary sketch for the building was published in the First Annual Report of the Department of Public Parks of 1871. Sixty years later, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses converted the Sheepfold (which actually housed 200 sheep that grazed across the street) into a restaurant named Tavern on the Green, which opened to the public on October 20, 1934.

Hard copies of the RFP can be obtained, at no cost, through Friday, March 30, 2012, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, at the Revenue Division of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which is located in the Arsenal at 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, just inside Central Park at East 64th Street.

The RFP is also available for download through Friday, March 30, 2012, on Parks’ website. To download the RFP, visit, click on the link for “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” and, after logging in, click on the “download” link that appears adjacent to the RFP’s description.

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