Central Park

Manhattan's Only Lakeside Restaurant May Not Close for Good After All

NYC Parks is looking for a new operator -- and it says any pre-scheduled catering events through the end of the year will be honored

Exterior of Loeb Boathouse
NBC New York

One of New York City's most understated icons -- Manhattan's only lakeside restaurant, the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park -- may not be closing its doors for good this fall after all.

NYC Parks plans to start a negotiation process to identify and reach an agreement with a new operator to run the restaurant as well as the snack bar and rowboat rental, the agency said Friday.

The current operator announced last month it planned to close Loeb Boathouse for good in mid-October. The city says it has worked to ensure catered events can continue there through New Year's Eve and to let the current operator out of the agreement sooner in order to make way for a new one.

"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 statement said. "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."

Interested in submitting a proposal or learning more? Reach out to this contact by Aug. 19.

The proposal submission process starts after that. Those will be evaluated on the bases of capital investment, improvement and designs; operating experience; financial capability; planned operations; and fee offer, the city says. The Loeb Boathouse is a New York City landmark, so any improvements are subject to approval by the Landmark and Public Design commissions.

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 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.

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