Long Island restaurateur Dean Poll wasn’t looking to open a place in Manhattan in 1999. But when he heard the New York City Parks Department was putting the landmark Central Park Boathouse up for bid, he decided to take a look at the site anyway.
“I parked on Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street at the park entrance,” Poll says. “I had no idea where I was going. Then I walked into the park and saw it on the water, and I was gaga. I couldn’t believe it. It was so unique—this tranquility in the