Dozens of New Yorkers may suddenly “decide” to walk through Central Park Friday morning in the hopes of glimpsing America’s reigning talk-show host, but sadly, chances are slim and tickets are reserved when Oprah Winfrey comes to town tomorrow.
Winfrey is heading to the SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park to broadcast; the show will air live on Friday at 10 am Eastern time. (Again, spots in the audience are by reservation only; don’t expect just to show up.)
Winfrey’s guests will include Mariah Carey, the top-selling female recording artist in history, who will most likely perform a song from her new album, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.” She will also give Oprah an exclusive interview (topics are expected to include, no surprise, her career and marriage to Nick Cannon.)
Ever-perky Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa are also expected to pop in after doing their own show that morning.
Other (famous) unannounced guests will undoubtedly show up, and Winfrey will also announce her 63rd book club selection. The enormously influential book club has helped a number of books achieve bestseller status, and has also uncovered some controversial selections, like James Frey’s largely made-up “A Million Little Pieces.” Selections from 2008 included “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” by David Wrobleski, and Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth.”
New York City’s legendary Tavern on the Green restaurant was ready to enter a new chapter this coming January when it switched to new ownership—but one chapter people might not have been anticipating was Chapter 11: The current owner, Jennifer LeRoy, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
LeRoy’s family has operated Tavern on the Green for almost 35 years. She blames the bankruptcy filing on the current recession, as well as the city’s decision to give the restaurant’s license to new owners. The 75-year-old restaurant is due to pass into the hands of Dean Poll, who also runs Central Park’s Boathouse restaurant, in four months.
Twenty creditors and the money owed to them are listed in the federal bankruptcy filing: they include some that might be expected, such as almost $80,000 owed to American Express and close to $2 million owed to the New York Hotel Trades Council. There are other debts, however, that show that just as the rich are different from you and me; clearly, high-end restaurants are as well: More than $53,000 is owed to Atlanta’s Buckhead Beef, and (wait for it) $26,299 is due to Urbani Truffles.
In a somewhat ironic footnote, the public might be interested to know that the 19th- century building originally housed sheep. The Sheep Meadow was originally called “The Green,” so the restaurant, when it originally opened in 1934 (yes,the sheep had left by then), was christened “Tavern on the Green.”
New York City’s famed Tavern on the Green restaurant—often noted more for its extraordinary décor and location in Cental Park than for its food—is changing hands.
Dean Poll, who runs the Boathouse restaurant in Central Park, was chosen by the Parks Department last week to take over the restaurant, starting in January. Department officials say he submitted the most impressive proposal for the 20-year license.
A number of well-known names in the restaurant business either pulled out of the running for the license or never made a bid, including Danny Meyer (of Gramercy Tavern and Blue Smoke), who had initially showed interest. While Tavern on the Green was at one time one of the most profitable independent restaurants in the country, its revenues have soured along with the economy.
The 25-million capital investment will cover a renovation that includes adding banquet rooms; an outdoor café serving sandwiches and snacks; and a club room. Green technology will also be incorporated.
Poll is taking over the license from the LeRoy family, which started the restaurant in 1974. Interestingly, the name is still controlled by Jennifer LeRoy, and it could cost Poll many millions of dollars if he wants to keep using it.
Tavern on the Green is located in Central Park, near West 67th Street.
On the night of Tuesday, August 18, a very brief and violent storm pounded on New York City that left Central Park ravaged with tree limbs scattered and whole trees on their side and uprooted. Officials are saying it’s the worst damage the park has seen in decades. An estimated 500 trees were injured, but thankfully no one was hurt.
Some trees destroyed dated from the 1920s or ‘30s, making the destruction an even bigger shame. The upper half of Central Park was hit hardest. Wood chippers have been hard at work since, eating away at the piles of fallen lumber needing to be discarded. The lumber being mulched into piles are being put to good use to moisten the soil throughout the park. Due to the infestation of the Asian longhorn beetles, the fallen trees unfortunately won’t be used for furniture or firewood. What’s even worse, many trees that lost large limbs are at risk of dying from decay, so those may need to be removed as well.
The storm has also had an unfortunate effect on wildlife, leaving many creatures homeless. Many paths with tree limbs now lying across them have been marked off with yellow tape.
Restoration could cost the Central Park Conservancy nearly $500,000, which will have to be paid by donors. Clean up crews still have a lot of work to do from the widespread damage even a week later.
Mention the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, and you will either get a blank stare or a look of delight. Located in New York’s Central Park, the theater started life in 1876 as an example of Swedish design at an exposition in Philadelphia. The cottage was purchased by the New York Parks Department and moved to its current site when the event ended. It was completely restored about 10 years ago.
(To file under “Did You Know”: The cottage was brought here at the suggestion of Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park.)
This summer, the cottage features a new retelling of the “Peter Pan” story, called “Peter Pan & Adventures in Never Land.” What’s new? Well, for one thing, it’s set in New York City; for another, Tiger Lily is now a native of India rather than being Native American. Will Nana the dog, by far our favorite character, make an appearance? No word yet…The show runs every day during the summer (although show times differ).
The marionettes are hand-crafted; the setting is lovely; and although performances are geared to kids 3-9, it’s more of an “everyone” kind of experience, at least once.
PS Yes–it’s air conditioned.
The Marionette Theater is located on the west side of the park at 79th Street, south of the Delacorte Theater. For more information about showtimes, performances, and birthday parties at the Cottage, call (212) 988-9093.
Whether you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, there are two free public concert programs not to miss this summer in these New York City boroughs. Central Park SummerStage, a program of the City Parks Foundation founded in 1986, presents a variety of free performing acts to the public. The performances and events are open to all ages and showcase music, dance, spoken word, and film. These are held in the various outdoor venues in Manhattan’s Central Park in New York City. The series began June 5 and will conclude August 16, so there is still time to catch a show. Some well-known names still to come this summer that are sure to draw large crowds are Jazmine Sullivan, Q-Tip, Chester French, Ginuwine, Bettye LaVette, Bela Fleck, The Pretenders, and Juliette Lewis.
Celebrate Brooklyn! is an outdoor performing arts festival offering free music, dance, theater, and film events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell. The program began June 8 this summer with a performance by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and will end August 15 with Animal Collective. Several other artists yet to perform this summer are Big Daddy Kane, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal. The concert series is free but a $3 donation is suggested upon arrival. Celebrate Brooklyn! was launched in 1979.