It was announced on February 16, 2023 that the city selected Legends Hospitality as its new operator for the iconic Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, for a 10-year term.
The Boathouse reopened June 17, 2023, with its 80-seat outdoor dinning and boat rentals. The main dining room will not be open until the fall, according to ABC-7 News.
“Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse is a landmark venue that has delighted New Yorkers and visitors to our city for more than 70 years,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We are thrilled that the Boathouse will soon reopen under the expert management of Legends Hospitality, and we look forward to working with them as they steward this beloved park treasure.”
“Legends is honored to be selected by NYC Parks to operate the iconic Loeb Boathouse in Central Park,” said Dan Smith, president, Legends Hospitality. “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.”
As part of their agreement, Legends Hospitality has committed to a $3,250,000 capital investment into The Loeb Boathouse, along with $250,000 for structural maintenance improvements. The company is planning a complete refresh of the menus at the Boathouse, including collaborations with iconic chefs, and an overhaul of the boat rental program, with added credit card payment acceptance and an online booking system. Their restoration plans also include renovating and expanding public restrooms, connecting the upper and lower outdoor dining patios and upgrading patio service, upgrading the building systems to be more efficient and sustainable, and fostering improvements to the outdoor bar to open up views from the pathways to the pond.
Legends Hospitality is a division of global premium experiences company Legends. Within New York City, they currently operate at One World Observatory, Yankee Stadium, the Intrepid, Circle Line, and Oculus Beer Garden. Legends’ past projects, current portfolio, and financial capacity will enable the company to carry out all aspects of the license agreement and provide a key amenity to the millions visiting Central Park every year.
The back story……..
NYC Parks today announces that it intends to enter into a negotiated concession process in in 2022 in order to identify and enter into an agreement with a new operator for the operation, renovation and maintenance of a high-quality restaurant, snack bar and rowboat rental at the Loeb Boathouse, Central Park, Manhattan.
The current operator of the Loeb Boathouse, through a notice dated July 14, 2022, announced the closure of the concession effective as of October 16, 2022. Parks is engaged in good faith negotiations with the concessionaire to allow catered events to continue until approximately December 31, 2022 and to amend the agreement to allow the concession to end prior to its original termination date.
In accordance with Section 1-14 of the Concession Rules of the City of New York, Parks is utilizing the negotiated concession process, rather than a competitive sealed proposal process, in order to identify and install a new operator as quickly as possible. The concession will be operated pursuant to a license issued by Parks; no leasehold or other proprietary right will be offered. The concession is projected to expire no more than 10 years from the commencement date. The selected operator must also act in good faith to seek to accommodate any events already booked at the facility with the current concessionaire.
Potential concessionaires that would like to express interest in the proposed concession and/or obtain additional information concerning the concession may contact Andrew Coppola, Senior Project Manager for the Revenue Division, at (212) 360-3454 or via e-mail at Andrew.Coppola@parks.nyc.gov by August 19, 2022. Thereafter, there will be a process for the submission of proposals. Parks will evaluate the proposals on the bases of capital investment, improvement and designs; operating experience; financial capability; planned operations; and fee offer.
Located on the eastern shore of the 72nd Street Lake in Central Park, the Loeb Boathouse was constructed in 1952 and has served as a unique dining and recreational amenity in one of New York City’s most picturesque locations. The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park is a New York City landmark and any improvements are subject to approval by the Public Design Commission and Landmark Commission. The restaurant’s main dining room opens onto the lake and features accordion style glass windows that fold back to allow the restaurant to become totally open to the lake during the warmer months, and close to allow for uninterrupted views with protection from the elements during the winter months. The building also includes an indoor bar with a large stone fireplace, a snack bar with indoor and outdoor access and seating, a Lake Room currently used for special events, restrooms for customers and the general public, and an enclosed courtyard accessible to the public. Rowboats are also rented from an outdoor kiosk with boats stored on a series of wooden docks. Patrons to the Loeb Boathouse and visitors to Central Park have enjoyed this location for years and Parks would like to continue to provide these welcome amenities.
Let’s take a look-back at boating on the lake, a popular pastime in the 1860s. Seeing the need for a place to store boats, Central Park landscape architect Calvert Vaux designed a two-story Victorian, wooden boathouse that was twelve feet wide and twenty feet long.
Vaux’s boathouse was replaced in 1924 by a rustic, wooden structure ~ architect unknown ~ and by the 1950s it was in need of repair. Enter investment banker and philanthropist Carl M. Loeb and his wife Adeline, who donated $305,000 to help create The Loeb Boathouse that stands today. The current boathouse was designed by Chief Park Designer Stuart Constable and officially opened in March 1954 ~ eventually evolving into a restaurant.