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Tavern On the Green Reopens As Gift Shop and Pit Stop

By Leslie Albrecht | October 15, 2010 3:48pm

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — One of Manhattan's most storied restaurants has been reborn as a gift shop where visitors can buy coffee mugs, tchotchkes and earth-toned T-shirts.

Once a go-to place for uptown weddings, Mother's Day brunches and other special moments, officials Friday touted Tavern on the Green as an ideal pit-stop for tourists with newly refurbished restrooms.

"As everybody knows, you can't have too many nice bathrooms in the city of New York, especially in Central Park," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe shortly before cutting the ribbon on the new visitors center.

Tavern on the Green closed earlier this year after filing for bankruptcy. Now visitors can snap up $20 T-shirts and $10 mugs, while checking out touch screen displays that guide users to local attractions, and a diorama of Central Park.

Outside, the bike rental company Bike and Roll has set up shop in the Tavern's former driveway.

On the Tavern's former terrace, four high-end food carts will dish out delicacies such as Turkish tacos, artisan ice cream that costs up to $7 a scoop, Chinese dumplings and soups and stews.

The city has spent the past several months refurbishing the historic Tavern building.

Earlier this week, one of the food trucks submitted a bid to Community Board 7 for permission to serve hard alcohol.