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New York City's iconic Central Park Boathouse reopens

New York City's iconic Central Park Boathouse reopens
New York City's iconic Central Park Boathouse reopens 02:27

NEW YORK -- There was excitement at the Central Park Boathouse on Monday. The restaurant reopened for indoor dining for the first time since closing in 2022.

CBS New York got a look at the newly renovated space.

Stepping inside the Central Park Boathouse, one is captivated by the view of the lake, which is postcard perfect as ducks glide by.

Many opted to dine in on reopening day, and the views will be the backdrop for what new operator Legends Hospitality hopes will be an unforgettable experience.

When asked how it felt to be open for business, Rochard Porteus, the vice president of hospitality for Legends Hospitality, said, "So exciting. We're celebrating our 70th year, so really excited about it, really excited to see the restaurant full."

Porteus shared that indoor dining is the final piece of the puzzle. The café and boat rentals opened last year, but renovating the restaurant took about a year.

"We put a lot of thought and restoration into infrastructure," Porteus said.

The things diners don't see is the new roof, HVAC, and kitchen equipment.

Of course, tons of thought went into the things diners do see and experience, like the ceiling.

"It is beautifully restored. It was kind of like bright Swedish blue," said Sirianna Everett, a former New Yorker who now lives in Colorado Springs.

Porteus said the color is a nod to the birds of Central Park. The originals floors have also been painstakingly refinished.

If one sits down at the bar, Guillermo Calderon can shake up a Boathouse Cosmo or a Lavender French 75, both crafted with New York City-made spirits.

"We are continental based, which means we are looking to not be too tied into one area," said Adam Fiscus, the Boathouse's executive chef.

Fiscus shared some specialties, like the Hidden Fjord Salmon, House Blend Burger and "homemade pasta with a poached 1 1/4-pound whole lobster."

"My personal thrill is that it's open again because I love dining here," said Sara Cedar Miller, historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy.

Miller called the restaurant a wonderful amenity missed by many.

"They'd asked where the Boathouse was and you'd say, 'Well, it's over there but it's closed now,' and they're like, 'Ohhh,'" Cedar Miller said.

But now there is no more disappointment. History is continuing at the Boathouse, which opened 70 years ago.

"The Loeb Boathouse was built in 1954, opened in 1954, but what was really interesting is that there was a boathouse before it," Cedar Miller said.

Built by park co-designer Calvert Vaux in the 1870s, it housed boats, not a bustling restaurant like the Central Park Boathouse of 2024.

The restaurant is now open daily for lunch and dinner, and Sunday Brunch, too. Boat rentals begin on April 1. 

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