Mayor Adams, NYC Parks Commissioner Donoghue Announce Selection of Legends Hospitality as New Operator of the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park 

February 16, 2023

Legends Hospitality Commits $3.2 Million Capital Investment Into The Loeb Boathouse, Along With $250,000 for Structural Maintenance Improvements 

Iconic Central Park Venue Hopefully Will Open to New Yorkers and Visitors This Summer

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue today announced that the city has selected Legends Hospitality as its new operator for the iconic Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, for a 10-year term. If approved by the Franchise & Concession Review Committee (FCRC), the iconic venue will reopen to the public this summer.

“The Central Park Boathouse has been a landmark for generations of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Adams.“When it closed last year, many worried about its future, but our administration moved quickly to keep this piece of New York City history alive. 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.”

“The Central Park Boathouse is a treasured space not only for the Manhattan community but everyone living in and visiting the city. It’s a beautiful building that has created countless memories for its visitors,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “This administration has worked hard to ensure that new management was selected to reopen and manage the Boathouse in time for the summer season. I’m excited for Legends to reopen the Boathouse this summer and very appreciative of the Parks team that works tirelessly to ‘Get Stuff Done.’”

“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.”

First initially opened more than 150 years ago, The Loeb Boathouse shut down on December 31, 2022. In August 2022, NYC Parks launched a competitive-negotiated concession process in which operators were invited to submit their plans and interest in operating, renovating, and maintaining a high-quality restaurant, snack bar, and rowboat rental at The Loeb Boathouse. After engaging with all interested parties, NYC Parks selected Legends Hospitality to operate the site. In accordance with the competitive negotiated process, NYC Parks’ license agreement with Legends Hospitality will go before the city’s FCRC for a public hearing on March 3, 2023. If approved, the Boathouse could be open as early as summer of 2023.

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.

Located on the eastern shore of the 72nd Street Lake in Central Park, The Loeb Boathouse first opened in 1872 and was rebuilt in 1952, and has subsequently 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, 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.

“I look forward to welcoming Legends Hospitality as the new operator for Loeb Boathouse in Central Park,” said New York City Councilmember Shaun Abreu. “Their history of top-notch service and commitment to upgrading Loeb Boathouse will improve the park experience for countless families. I’m grateful to Mayor Adams for negotiating this historic investment.”

“I’m happy that New Yorkers and visitors from around the globe will once again enjoy the restaurant and boating at this iconic spot,” said New York City Councilmember Gale Brewer. “Better still, the new operator agreed to retain the union workers at the Boathouse and preserve their contract, which is huge.”

Full Press Conference

Photos: NYC Parks/Malcolm Pinckney

See also: Press Release