In 2009 the Parks Department's move to strip Central Park icon the Tavern on the Green from its longstanding operators, the LeRoy family, made a certain amount of sense: The joint was a mint and a mediocre one at that—surely somebody else could do it better and make the city more money? Turns out the answer was no. The city is losing tens of millions on the Boondoggle on the Green.

To start, let us all remember that when the LeRoy family offered $86 million over 20 years to stay and run the Tavern, the city said no. Instead they picked Dean Poll to operate the place after he offered to pay $57.3 million over 20 years. But in the end Poll couldn't make those numbers work with union obligations and dropped out. So some food carts moved in and did terrible businesseven with booze. Finally the city went and looked for operators again and found some nice folks from Philadelphia who happen to have ties to Mayor Bloomberg.

And how much are those latest operators paying for the privilege of running a restaurant that was for years the highest grossing one in the country? Why $38.7 million over a 20 year period according to A Walk in the Park. Oh, and also? They are getting a free $10 million dollar gut-renovation of the space from the city. And it includes putting a big glass cube where the Crystal Room used to be. Y'know, like at the Apple store. Sigh, those $86 million sure would have been nice...