New Leaf's spectacular fieldstone cottage was built by John D. Rockefeller in the 1930s as a public cafeteria and park administration building. Designed by the famous Olmsted Brothers, the classic structure has a cobblestone exterior, granite archways and a slate roof, with massive oak trusses supporting the dining room’s 18-foot ceiling.
Over the ensuing decades, the beautiful building fell into disrepair. Bette Midler and her friends rediscovered it in 1995 in the midst of a massive cleanup of then-neglected Fort Tryon Park. That effort prompted Midler to found the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit that works to create and restore New York’s parks and community gardens. In the ensuing years, Midler, NYRP, and a team of talented artists and architects transformed the former park concession into a celebrated fine-dining establishment.