The Parks Department is seeking a partner to open a restaurant the West 151st Street Arcade in Riverside Park.
By Brendan Krisel
HARLEM, NY — The city is offering restaurateurs an opportunity to partner with the Parks Department to run an eatery in a prime Riverside Park location in Harlem, according to public documents.
The Parks Department is seeking a partner to operate the restaurant space at the West 151st Street Arcade in Riverside Park for 20 years, according to a recently-launched request for proposals. A Parks Department selection committee will accept bids until Jan. 13, and meetings will be held with some applicants on the week of Jan. 27.
The West 151st Street Arcade once served as a restroom in Riverside Park but has been closed for decades. Due to the long vacancy, the space requires redevelopment including a total refurbishment of both restroom facilities. The city's chosen partner will be responsible for the renovations, according to the request for proposals.
Parks Department officials described the space, which features old New York colonnade architecture, as "a unique backdrop for a snack bar." The department is willing to hear other ideas for the space, but its goal is to offer Upper Manhattan park users with a food service facility with public restrooms. The West 151st Street Arcade is a 900 -square-foot, one-story space with a 1,900-square-foot rotunda attached. Proposals that incorporate outdoor seating will be "viewed favorably" by the Parks Department.
Foot traffic near the West 151st Street Arcade is expected to increase in the future due to the recent construction of an ADA-accessible pedestrian bridge that connects the space to park entrances near 150th and 151st streets, according to Parks Department officials.
Parks Department officials anticipate that the business plan for the concession will mirror that of Ellington in the Park, a parks concession on West 105th street. Ellington in the Park has grossed $1.7 million in receipts in 2018, paying the Parks Department $174,573 in fees.
Bids must be hand-delivered to the Parks Department headquarters in Central Park's Arsenal by Monday, Jan. 13, according to the request for proposals. A copy of the RFP can be downloaded on the Parks Department website.