By Carol Tannenhauser
Monday, July 25, 2022
Scattered thunderstorms, potentially severe, high 89 degrees.
Our calendar has lots of local events! Click on the link or the lady in the upper righthand corner.
The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park is scheduled to close on October 16, due to “rising costs of labor and goods,” The New York Times reported. 163 employees will be let go, and countless New Yorkers will suffer the sadness that comes with another diminishment of our city.
Take heart, no matter what the New York Post says! The Boathouse will not really close, in our humble opinion; at least, not forever. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation won’t let it. As they found a new operator for Wollman Rink, they will find one for the Boathouse, “as soon as possible,” they told The Times. It means too much to a city that has faced so many losses and struggled so valiantly in the past few years to let it go.
Here’s how some Rag readers remember the Boathouse:
I will never forget the sound of every language chattering away competing with the clamor of silver forks and knives, against a backdrop of young lovers and families trying to navigate their way around the lake. Somehow, waiting for the food to arrive at the Boathouse was irrelevant.
For some, it was a place of consecration.
I married the love of my life at the Boathouse. The location was the first spot that came to mind when I started planning, because of its setting in one of the most magical places on Earth. We met in New York City, and spent a lot of time in Central Park, so it felt like a representation of us.
For some it was out of reach.
My husband and I loved that place though only went to the restaurant a couple of times. When we were getting married, we thought it would be grand to do it at the boathouse……until we found out how much it would cost…
Some never went.
Believe it or not I’ve never been to the Boathouse. Crazy. I hope someone good comes along to run it properly (even if it’s high end) since it’s too good a spot to lose forever. It’s a diamond in the rough, in my opinion.
All could appreciate its beauty.
[I remember] the rowboats bobbing on the lake, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, the glory of gazing at the steel of the skyline juxtaposed against the pale green patina of the Essex House in the distance, combined with hunger and the desire for a cool libation at the best table in town.
So, await its return with the hope of a bride who was married there.
I’m optimistic about the future of the Loeb Boathouse — I do hope whoever takes over will hire me as a consultant because I have a lot of great ideas…. and will only ask to hang up one photo from my wedding!
Thanks to Jules, Anna, Ann, and Sharon for the memories.
Note: Manny, one of the hosts, told us that “the rowboat rental concession will cease to be operational when the Boathouse closes — unless someone takes it over first,” he added.
I hope they can find a more efficient operator like they did for Wollman Rink.
Before it was a dining destination it was a cafeteria, serving bacon and eggs on paper plates and cardboard carton of coffee. The seating was picnic benches. I had my 6th birthday party there, and the cop on duty served the birthday cake.
Sounds like the equivalent of birthday parties at the old Lasker rink in the early 2000s! Grungy, yes, but for kids and parents, the best value most fun outdoor action/indoor eats winter birthday party in town!!
That would be an improvement. Discuss.
Thank you to the WSR & contributors–what a lovely, heartening series of reflections on the Loeb Boathouse! I strongly agree that this is not the end, and that in time we will be celebrating its reopening under new (and possibly better) stewardship. In the meantime, though, I’ll sorely miss it–and the sight of rowboats gliding on the Lake!
Forty five years ago: I’ll never forget the beauty of eating in the restaurant overlooking the lake. I was transported into a Monet painting.
Today I am blessed living two blocks away, taking my morning walks culminating in a cup of very good coffee.
I’m sure it will reopen soon as the “Amazon Boat House” or the “Bank of America Boat House” etc. like all the stuff in Bryant Park. And the food, drinks, and service will probably be better than ever.
We once planned a Sunday birthday party there for a friend named George and called it, “Sunday in the Park with George”.
The one thing that stuck out to me was in the article I read about the closing, it specifically mentioned that 163 “union” workers would lose their jobs. It will reopen again, maybe even with the same owners, but this time with non union employees which will obviously help with the labor costs. Welcome to business in America in 2022.
From The Times: “A spokesman for the union that represents workers at the Boathouse said the decision to close in October was deeply disappointing, and added that the laid off workers would be recalled if a new operator takes over.”
The union will push for that and try to get the City to require it. It’s highly likely but not guaranteed.
Reply to UWS post
Thanks, W.S.R., for adding that important info.
Let us not forget that NYC is NOT the union-hating South, and that it’s the many public-employee and private-employee unions that allow ordinary folk to live in this wonderful, but pricey, town.
Union ‘workers’. LOL. You mean guys standing around plus all the no show jobs.
No, I meant:
1. Construction guys working outdoors in freezing or blistering-hot weather;
2. Cops on duty outdoors at all hours in the same horrid weather;
3. Fire Fighters who race into burning buildings to rescue those trapped inside;
4. MTA bus-drivers getting spat-upon by un-civil civilians;
5. and, yes the in-service UFT educators subject to being reported to their supervisors by spiteful “students”
The cafe on the park side of the Boathouse is a true NYC hack. A fraction of the price, and some of the exact same food (minus the restaurant’s delicious bread). Some of the inside tables even have a view of the lake (over the heads of the “fancy” diners). And you get to use the lovely, attended bathroom!
Omg not the rowboats too!
I hope they will stay and the price won’t go up. My family enjoy row boating with friends very often.
Another loss for a great city. Consistent with all the vacant retail sores throughout the city. We need the mayor to address this continuous loss of community.
Unions enable workers to earn decent wages and benefits. Thanks to my father’s union at USPS my family never had to worry about medical bills or food on the table. He only finished high school but his 3 daughters became a doctor, lawyer and nurse. Unions are good for the country!
Amen to unions in general, but – with the exception of the corrections folks who are literally endangering lives and holding the city hostage over Rikers and other facility staffing. Unlimited sick days?!? How they can sleep at night with the inhumane conduit and lives lost I don’t know.
My best memories of the boathouse are from when it was a simple snack bar, before it became an over priced yuppie enclave. I have a problem with municipal properties being upscaled and in turn exclude certain intended patrons.
Part-time New Yorker and so very glad we had lunch at the Boathouse when we were there in June. We go almost every visit saying oh well, we’re basically tourists so why not. I gasped in horror when they closed during the pandemic but then they re-opened. Hopefully that happens this time, too. What will the turtles in the lake do without us all in the meantime?
[…] NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking a new operator for the restaurant. The WSR’s Monday Bulletin has more information and some personal memories of the landmark from our readers. (Thanks to […]