Rumors of The Loeb Boathouse’s demise were greatly exaggerated. As Upper East Site previously reported, the closure of the iconic Central Park venue would only be a temporary one, and we now know when it reopens this summer, it’ll be run by a notable new operator: Legends Hospitality.
“The Central Park Boathouse has been a landmark for generations of New Yorkers. When it closed last year, many worried about its future,” said Mayor Eric Adams, announcing the partnership Thursday morning.
“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.”
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Legends, which currently operates the observatory at One World Trade Center, as well as concessions at Yankee Stadium and the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, is set to invest more than three million dollars into Loeb Boathouse, as well as an additional quarter million dollars for structural maintenance improvements as part of the 10-year deal with the city.
“[We] are committed to making the Loeb Boathouse a dining destination that provides memorable experiences for visitors and locals for years to come,” said Dan Smith, President of Legends Hospitality.
Planned renovations to the building are said to include updated and expanded public restrooms, as well as upgrades to the outdoor dining patios.
In addition, the menu will also be completely refreshed by Legends, which plans to include collaborations with celebrity chefs, as well as an overhaul of the boat rental program that will allow boats to be booked online using a credit card.
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Located on the eastern shore of the Central Park Lake, The Loeb Boathouse first opened more than 150 years ago and was rebuilt into its current form back in 1952. The restaurant and snack bar shut down last October after the previous operator announced mass layoffs, blaming rising costs and shrinking profit margins.
At the time, we knew the closure would not be permanent because NYC Parks, which owns the boathouse, said it would be working to identify a new operator as soon as possible.
The licensing agreement announced Thursday will be the subject of a public hearing by the City’s Franchise & Concession Review Committee on March 3rd. If approved, the venue is expected to open this summer.
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