You can never run out of things to do in this city: it’s a New York cliché, a New York reality. I lose respect for anyone who finds themselves bored while in the four boroughs (you’re allowed, expected, to be bored in Staten Island). It’s easy to get overwhelmed by possibility, activities on your “Leisure To-Do List” are easily forgotten. One day you wake up and realized you’ve lived in the city for five years. For each of those five years, you’ve said to yourself, “I want to go boating in Central Park.” 10 seasons of appropriate boating weather have come and gone, still you’ve never been. One day you wake up, you look out the window and the sky is blue, crystal clear. You throw your arms up in the air, “No more excuses! This is the day I float in the middle of Central Park!”
The weather was perfect, a glorious June Saturday. Here’s something you might not know: when you live in New York, you start hating Saturdays. The streets are swarmed, there is a wait at any restaurant worth going to, stores have long lines for dressing rooms and check out, every attraction is twice as crowded as it would be on a weekday. This is why I don’t mind working weekends. But sometimes Saturday is the only time you and your boating companions have free. So Charlotte, Miranda, and I headed to Central Park, prepared to face crowds and ready to wait however long it took to get a boat.
We worried for nothing. At 2pm on a glorious Saturday, there was no wait. Honestly, if there was no wait then, I can’t believe there ever is one. We put down a $20 deposit for our boat and strolled right over to the next one ready. It was shockingly easy. Another thing that’s hard to believe? It is so cheap, seriously one of the cheapest activities you can find in overpriced Manhattan. $12 gets you a boat for an hour and you can put as many as four people on that boat! That’s $12 per boat, not per person. Hard to believe, right? It’s a great date idea, we saw loads of couples. Also saw a lot of girl friends just like us. Then there was a group of four 20-something fratty-looking guys who got into the boat in front of us. They broke the stereotype. And made me consider how different this story might have been if I, or any of my girl friends, were single.
At the boat house, the personnel sit you in the boat and push you off shore. That’s it. No one asks if you know how to row, no one gives you a lesson. They just push you in the deep end and hope you figure it out. Some do better than others. A couple of middle schoolers, clearly on a date and so painfully awkward it was adorable, paddled in circles. It’s not uncommon to see boats stranded on the edge of the pond, often a paradox of comedy and tragedy: a dude trying to impress his date soon finds himself disgraced by an inability to row. I can’t remember the last time I rowed a boat previously, but it all came back pretty fast!
The 72nd Street cross is probably the area of the park I know best. It was brilliant to see all edges of the lake and the surrounding city scape from a new perspective.
Could the day have been any more lovely? Hard to believe this is in the heart of NYC isn’t it?
On days like this, the park is full of street performers. While on the lake, we heard the music of an amped guitar and a singer on a microphone. The notes of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” wafted over the lake. Alone in our boat, surrounded by water, and no other boats within 100 feet, we started singing along at the top of our lungs. Reason #926 I love Charlotte and Miranda.
Really, it couldn’t have been a more perfect outing. Now I want to go boating all the time. Of course, that’s not going to happen, but this is for sure: I’ll be damned if wait 5 years to go boating again! You shouldn’t wait either. Boats are available from 10AM to 5:30PM daily. We even returned our boat 3 minutes after our hour timestamp and were shocked that they didn’t charge us for the full 15 extra minutes. So nice! See the official Central Park site here.
Hope you all had a lovely weekend!