In my opinion, the best time to visit Central Park is in the Fall. The air is cool and crisp, the foliage display is breathtaking and the summer crowd has somewhat dispersed. And this year, there is another good reason. The Central Park Conservancy has just completed a two-year reconstruction project of five boat landings that sit along the 18-acre shoreline of Central Park Lake. The restorations included Wagner Cove, rustic in style and Western Shore, Hernshead and Bow Bridge, which are more Victorian inspired. A fifth rustic landing called Chambers, which had once existed on the Ramble shoreline was re-installed as part of the project.
To give you a little historical background, six boat landings were installed along the lake beginning in the 1860’s, which included a grand boathouse designed by Calvert Vaux, completed in 1872. They were meant to enhance the scenery of the park, but were also functional landings for recreational boats that for the fare of 10 cents would make the circuit around the lake to pick up and dispatch visitors. Boats would also stop at the Bethesda Fountain. Over time, all of these structures deteriorated. The boat house was rebuilt in 1924 with a more rustic wooden structure and then replaced again in 1953, through a donation by Carl and Adeline Loeb, now known as The Loeb Boathouse. The five boat landings were also removed and four were rebuilt in the 1970’s by the Friends of Central Park and the Parks Department, but much of the original details were lost. Over time, these four landings fell into disrepair and Bow Bridge and Wagner Landings were also vandalized.
The new landings are more faithful recreations of the originals. Earlier this month, 2 electric boats, similar to those found on the lake in the early 1900’s, were brought back to celebrate the completion of the project and to take city officials on a tour of the new landings. My father, Julian Korn, happened to be in the park that day and took some great photos. He also assisted me on this post by serving as my consultant and expert photographer. You can visit the park and access all, using the footpath that circles the lake or better yet, by rowboat. A fleet of 100 rowboats are available for rent at the Loeb Boathouse or if you would prefer someone to do the work for you, a Venetian gondola complete with gondolier can be hired.
To learn more, visit the Central Park Conservancy web page.
I just had to post this video of a bunch of Central Park pirates: https://improveverywhere.com/2014/11/05/pirates-of-central-park/
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