Last weekend my dear friend J came to town, and we had a blast! J used to live in New York but moved to the other side of the country for various reasons. (She’s been mentioned here before – she’s the one I used to sit with on the glowing red steps above the TKTS booth in Times Square at 2:00 in the morning to bask in the energy of our glittering city.) In any case, it was refreshing to have a visitor who knew her way around the city and didn’t drag me to all the tourist sites I’ve seen a thousand times. Knowing me for the social butterfly I am, she was content to tag along where ever I went and be a part of the NYC social scene for a few days.
Some of our activities included a trip to Room Service, my new favorite Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, a housewarming party on the Upper West Side and, of course, a Sunday brunch (no visit to New York is really complete without a brunch). After brunch, J and I decided to take a little walk through Central Park with M, and visit a very nostalgic place for us – Loeb’s Boathouse.
Loeb’s Boathouse is often just called The Boathouse, but regardless of its title, it is definitely a must-see/do spot. The Boathouse is located at the edge of a pond in the mid-70s on the East side of Central Park. That’s my best guess – locations in the park are rarely an exact science, neither is finding them. It is a fantastic restaurant, but, as its name suggests, is also an actual boathouse! For just $12 an hour you can rent a rowboat or a kayak and spend a blissful afternoon floating on the water – it’s so relaxing, and a ton of fun!
When J and I were in college, we used to take weekend trips down to the city just for a day. J was an art history major, so we would start at the Met, and when we finished there, we’d venture into the park. For some reason, probably because of its convenient proximity, we would often find ourselves at The Boathouse. There is a quiet little path that winds around the edge of the pond, and we would walk it, thinking how romantic it would be to rent a rowboat with a lover and row under the famed Bow Bridge.
So when J came to visit, we decided we would really do it this time. I think we had avoided it before because we thought it would be too expensive. Of course, inquiring about the price might have helped, but as it was, we were pleasantly surprised to discover how inexpensive it is! And so J, M and I spent an hour that perfectly sunny Sunday afternoon rowing and trying to avoid running into the other rowers who had come to enjoy one of the first beautiful days of fall.
I highly recommend this activity – it’s really not that difficult (although, as M found out, it takes a little getting used to), and there is something about floating about with the hum of the city in the periphery that is so calming. Aside from other New Yorkers testing their boating skills, there are plenty of ducks, turtles, and banjo-playing men to keep you company. If the day is right, with a baguette, some cheese, and a bottle of wine, this is one of the most fabulous ways to spend a fall (or spring, or summer) afternoon.