NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS/WCBS 880/CBS 2) – A visitors center and food court has opened at the once glitzy Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

In addition to the visitors center that includes interactive city maps and a gift shop, the pedestrian plaza features trees, tables, benches and food vendors selling soups, dumplings, Turkish tacos and ice cream, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

tavern on the green lamb Tavern On The Green Becomes Visitors Ctr, Plaza

(Photo/Rich Lamb)

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe cut the ribbon unveiling the new center Friday.

“We’ve brought to life a space and made very public a space that has been quiet for a while and it’s going to have a very populist feel,” Benepe said.

Clean public bathrooms are also among the welcomed new amenities.

“That’s the most important thing — having clean bathrooms and a visitor’s center and having an area where we can see what’s going on in the city,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

The original Tavern on the Green closed its doors on New Year’s Eve after 75 years. About three years ago, it was still one of the world’s top-grossing restaurants.

(TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch & Listen LIVE