Renting a Rowboat in Central Park
Renting a rowboat in Central Park is one of those quintessential New York experiences that I have somehow managed to avoid the past 17 years living in New York City. I always assumed there would be a long line and it would be overpriced but actually it was a very easy and pleasant time. I would highly recommend it for an afternoon outing with your kids.
We went on a Friday afternoon at 1:00pm and only had to wait 10 minutes however, by the time we came back in (2:00pm) the line was twice as long so try to get there early. The hours are 10:00am - 6:00pm April though November and the price in $15 for the first hour and $3 for each additional 15 minutes. They only take cash and you need to leave a $20 deposit in addition to your $15 so be sure to hit an ATM before you enter the park.
The boat ride was beautiful but it gets a bit congested closer to the boathouse and Bethesda fountain. I suggest rowing past all the people and check out the hidden corners of the lake. We spotted tons of turtles sunning themselves on the rocks and swimming around the shore of the lake. Nadia really enjoyed waving to people on the bridges and paths while the highlights for me were the view of the Dakota building (huge Beatles fan) and impressing my kid with my long forgotten rowboat skills.
After the boat ride, we had lunch at the Express Cafe which is the faster (cheaper) side of the Lakehouse Restaurant. They serve hamburgers, hots dogs, ect.. typical park food but much nicer than normal street vendor fare. From there we wandered over to Bethesda fountain and watched several singers, bands and break dancers perform throughout the park before we headed back to Brooklyn. All in all, a lovely, fun New York City date with my four year old.
-For more information, check out: http://www.thecentralparkboathouse.com/boats.php