Tavern on the Green Name Belongs to City, Not LeRoys: Judge


When the LeRoy family lost the contract to run Tavern on the Green last year, they not only auctioned off the fixtures — they also claimed the right to haul away the name. They even engaged a firm to license it. The city took issue and the case went to court.

U.S. District Judge Miriam Cedarbaum ruled today that the city owns the name.

The judge said that, though the late Warner LeRoy had established Tavern on the Green as a trademark back in 1981, they had “attempted to mislead” both the Patent Trademark Office and the city, whom they didn’t inform of their action. Cedarbaum found that as a concessionaire, the LeRoys didn’t have a right to usurp a name “associated in the public mind with a building owned by the city and located in New York’s Central Park.”

The LeRoys, who ran the restaurant from 1976 until last December, when Dean Poll of the Central Park Boathouse won the contract, indicate they’ll appeal the decision.

Though listed as the second highest grossing independent restaurant in America in 2008, the Tavern filed for Chapter 11 in September. Poll hasn’t determined yet whether he’ll keep the restaurant’s current staff, to whose union’s pension and other funds the Tavern owes most of its money. Photo (cc) hmerinomx.