The Central Park Lake has been popular for its "sailing" opportunities for hundreds of years. There have been a few boathouses in this place, but they did not last very long. In 1954, the current Loeb Boathouse was built. Today you can rent a boat or a Venetian gondola to have a romantic afternoon while observing the most visited park in the United States.
Aside from this, the building also serves as a very nice restaurant, offering amazing food with a spectacular view of the park. If you don't want to splurge out on a meal, you can always get a few drinks at the outside bar or the nearby express cafe.
The restaurant is very often used for weddings, birthdays, Bar Mitzvah and other family (or corporate) celebrations and events.
Be prepared to wait for a long time, as this place is very well known amongst tourists and locals and it's quite busy most of the time. The food is not very cheap, but it's understandable considering the amazing view you'll have.
You can get here by a shuttle bus that travels around the park (and it's free), or you can walk for about 6 minutes from the 5 Av/E 72 St bus stop, lines M1- M4 and M72.
Mon - Fri: noon - 3:45 pm
Sat - Sun: 9:30 am - 4 pm
Apr - Nov:
Mon - Fri: 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The boats can be rented, weather permitting, from 10 am till dusk.
Boat: $15 per hour, $4 for each additional 15 minutes, $20 cash deposit
Gondolas: $45 per half hour