NEW YORK (PIX11) – It has served as a classic backdrop for iconic movies like “When Harry Met Sally…” and TV shows like “Sex and the City,” and now, the once-closed New York City staple is reopening.
Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse shut its doors on Dec. 31, but the City of New York found a new operator – Legends Hospitality.
“We expect the Boathouse to be among the best restaurants, event venues and overall destinations in this great city,” said Richard Porteus, the regional vice president.
The company also operates at Yankee Stadium, One World Observatory and other venues across the country and world.
After winning a competitive bid process, Legends also committed to a $3,250,000 million capital investment to renovate the Boathouse.
“We’re going to work with everyone here to make sure that we’re all aligned on what it overall looks like in terms of the cafe, the restaurant, the catering facility and the outdoor deck as well, so obviously making sure that all of those outlets really kind of come together and restore it to the natural glory,” Porteus said.
The venue has created many memories for New Yorkers, including Mayor Eric Adams. “I remember as a rookie cop rowing the boats here and going on my free dates,” Mayor Adams said.
Because of the new agreement, 200 union jobs are returning.
The boat rental program will be overhauled with credit card payments accepted and an online booking option.
Legends will also add its own flare to the restaurant.
“I’ve heard that they are even planning to complete and refresh their menu,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, first deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. “Looking forward to that!”
Despite the closure, New Yorkers knew Loeb Boathouse would be saved.
“It was a little sad, but we knew it would reopen and it’s going to be better than ever,” said Upper East Side resident Claudine Westra.
“No matter what anybody [says], this is New York,” Mayor Adams said. “We are resilient. We never surrender. We never give up and I dare anyone to bet against us. They will lose.”
The agreement between the parks department and Legends Hospitality is a 10-year term. If approved by the Franchise and Concession Review Committee, Loeb Boathouse will reopen as early as this summer.