Central Park’s iconic Loeb Boathouse set to reopen this summer

February 16, 2023

After closing its doors last year, the iconic Loeb Boathouse in Central Park will reopen this summer with a new operator. Mayor Eric Adams and the city’s Parks Department on Thursday announced Legends Hospitality, the group that operates at Yankee Stadium and One World Observatory, has been selected to manage the Boathouse as part of a 10-year lease. If the contract is approved by the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee next month, the venue could be open to the public as early as June.

“The Central Park Boathouse has been a landmark for generations of New Yorkers,” Adams said in a press release. “When it closed last year, many worried about its future, but our administration moved quickly to keep this piece of New York City history alive. Thanks to the fast work of NYC Parks, we’ve selected a new operator so the Boathouse can come back better than ever, ensuring tourists and New Yorkers alike can enjoy this beautiful space and scenery once again.”

The lakeside restaurant and event venue, which has been featured in many films over the years, has been in business since 1954, but the site’s history as a boathouse dates to the 1860s. The restaurant opens onto the lake and features accordion-style windows that can be folded back during the warmer months. The property includes an indoor bar, a snack bar with indoor and outdoor seating, a special events room, and an enclosed courtyard. An outdoor kiosk and docks are home to rowboat rentals.

After closing in October 2020 because of the pandemic and then briefly reopening in March 2021, the Loeb Boathouse closed last fall.

NYC Parks launched a bidding process last summer to find a new operator to renovate, operate, and maintain the restaurant, snack bar, and rowboat rental at the Loeb Boathouse.

As part of the agreement with the city, Legends will commit $3,250,000 in capital investment, along with $250,000 for structural and maintenance improvements. The New York Post was the first to break the news about the new operator.

The proposal from Legends includes an overhaul of the rental boat program to allow for online advance ticket sales and debit and credit card usage to reduce long lines. The restoration involves expanding the public bathrooms, connecting the upper and lower outdoor patios, and improving the outdoor bar.

The menu will also be getting a makeover. Proposed dinner room brunch offerings range from a $7 buttermilk biscuit with sweet butter and jam to a $25 almond wood smoked salmon dish. For lunch, there’s a $25 burger and prime rib French dip, along with $10 cookies and milk for dessert. Prices for the dinner entrees start at $28 for the chicken to $48 for filet mignon.

“Legends is honored to be selected by NYC Parks to operate the iconic Loeb Boathouse in Central Park,” Dan Smith, president of Legends, said. “We proudly serve as stewards of legendary brands around the globe and are committed to making the Loeb Boathouse a dining destination that provides memorable experiences for visitors and locals for years to come.”

A public hearing on the contract will be held on March 3, followed by an FCRC meeting on March 8. If approved, the contract will then move to the city comptroller’s office to get registered.


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