New Leaf, constructed in the 1930’s, was envisioned by the Olmsted brothers – heirs of the designer of New York City’s Central Park – as a concession building for a public cafeteria and park administration offices. .
The structure’s cobblestone exterior, slate roof and granite archways were continued into the main dining room and enhanced by massive oak trusses to support the space’s 18-foot-high ceiling. Falling into disrepair over the decades, the dilapidated building was unexpectedly discovered in 1995, when Harlemite Bette Midler and her friends embarked on a cleanup of then-neglected Fort Tryon Park – efforts which served as the catalyst for Midler’s founding of New York Restoration Project (NYRP).
With Midler’s support, vision, and effort to revitalize New Leaf, NYRP was awarded the honor of operating the site in 2000. After extensive renovations, New Leaf Café – since renamed New Leaf Restaurant & Bar – opened in December 2001. Interior re-design was provided by Fernando Santangelo, architect and artist and exterior re-design was provided by Armand LeGuardeur, architect. Together, Ms. Midler, NYRP, and these talented individuals transformed a park concession into a celebrated fine-dining establishment. As of 2015, New Leaf is now managed by COFFEED Corp., a NYC based company that operates several dining venues from coffee shops to restaurants all around New York City. COFFEED is a charitable partner at all of the company locations – donating a portion of gross sales to various charities, typically local to each location
One of the final touches is the historic roof restoration that is well underway and is slated to be complete at the end of June.
The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fort Tryon Park, New York, http://newleafrestaurant.com/about/new-leaf-fort-tryon-park/