After having brunch at the Loeb Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park this weekend with our son and his wife, we had a serendipitous moment. After admiring the beautiful lake view from our waterside table we were fortunate enough to walk by the boat rental area when there was no one on line. On a beautiful Sunday morning, we really were in luck. The price for a rental can't be beat. It is only $15 to take a rowboat out for an hour and that includes up to 4 people. Each additional 15 minutes is $4. We jumped at the opportunity, and it turned out to be lots of fun. Rowing around Central Park is truly an iconic experience. We felt like we were floating in a gondola on Venice's Grand Canal or rowing on the Thames River in London.
Life jackets are provided and required for anyone under 12, so it's a safe family adventure as well as a romantic opportunity as evidenced by the many happy couples who were floating around the pond
We rowed past the Bethesda Fountain where tourists were snapping pictures of the boaters. The Angel of the Waters Statue was installed to commemorate the opening of the Croton Water System that starting bringing pure fresh water to New York City in 1842.
It helps to have a strong young man sit in the middle seat to row.
Boating has been popular on the Central Park Lake since the 1860s. The first boathouse was built in 1872 so that regulars could store their boats right at the lake. The current boathouse was built in 1954 and is the perfect spot for meeting friends for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just drinks. We were seated right away even on a busy Sunday, and the service was first rate. Prices are very fair for a restaurant in the heart of the park. For example, an order of Eggs Benedict was $19 - and they were delicious.
The dining room is casual but elegant at the same time.
The outdoor seating and bar are very appealing in nice weather.
The main entrance
We were surprised to see so much wildlife in the lake. There were lots of turtles skimming the surface and poking their heads around. The bird life is diverse enough (including egrets, herons and loons) that guests are encouraged to write notes of what they see in the "Bird Register," a loose leaf binder in the boathouse.
We paddled right next to this elegant bird.
The towers of the Dakoka can be seen in the background.
The view from our waterside table was tranquil.