History of New Leaf
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 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.
Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park is a breathtaking 67-acre site located at the tip of northern Manhattan at one of the highest elevations of the island, featuring sweeping views of the Hudson River, George Washington Bridge, and the New Jersey Palisades.
The site also features the distinctly designed Heather Gardens – fully restored in 1988 – in addition to several other areas of beauty and repose, including the Abbey Lawn, Billings Lawn, and Linden Terrace.
Pristine river views make the park a perfect setting for outdoor lunches, bike rides and strolls. Fort Tryon Park is also home to The Cloisters museum, featuring the medieval art collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Find photos by Gabe Kirchheimer documenting flowers by season to see which blooms you can spot on your next trip to Fort Tryon Park.