In the vicinity of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is the Loeb Boathouse restaurant, on the eastern shore of The Lake. I think it’s best for a warm-weather drink—to sit at the bar, in air-conditioned air, facing the lake whilst sipping some sort of aperitif or cold spritzer. There are often loads of tourists waiting for the ‘Boathouse Experience’, and having only a drink allows you to bypass that circus. For that bar perch and view, I put up with it. The Boathouse emerges renewed after a three month makeover.
If westbound, my next stop might be the Bethesda Terrace to watch the buskers (I’m never surprised to see ballerinas or opera singers), and if eastbound, to sit on one of the benches surrounding The Boat Pond (officially, The Conservatory Water), in sight of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, where my older daughter used to play. There, on the eastern side of the pond, is a coffee outlet that is also usually too crowded for words, and an unpleasant experience.
Near the Hans Christian Andersen sculpture can be found several birders using high power telescopes and video display terminals to allow walkers to see what they see. I saw a falcon nesting atop an apartment penthouse that was purportedly the home of the late Mary Tyler Moore.
And, if you have either time or a child on your hands, you can rent a radio controlled toy sailboat and fantasize about boating with Stuart Little.