Model-Boat Sailing Returns to Central Park

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. We’ll look at the return of model boating in Central Park for the first time since the pandemic. We’ll also get details of the penalty that Donald Trump was ordered to pay for breaking the gag order in his criminal trial.

Credit…Stan Honda/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

And then I crashed the boat.

It wasn’t my fault. Really, it wasn’t. A puff of wind came out of nowhere and drove the boat into the stone wall I had been steering it toward. Gently. Smoothly.

The vessel I was captaining was not a cruiser with an engine whirring below deck — it had no engine at all. Mine was a miniature sailboat on the model boat pond in Central Park, the setting famous from E.B. White’s story “Stuart Little.”

Model boats are being rented on the pond for the first time since 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus hit. The concessionaire is new: Rocking the Boat, a nonprofit from the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. The organization also teaches teenagers how to build full-size boats for rowing and sailing and how to pilot them on Long Island Sound.

Jasmine Benitez, who is managing Rocking the Boat’s operation at the boathouse east of the pond, said that the transition from the Sound to the diminutive world of the model boat lake (officially, Conservatory Water) had not been difficult. “The physics is exactly the same as on a big boat,” she said.

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