A New York Gondolier

((PKG)) CENTRAL PARK GONDOLIER

((TRT: 07:00))

((Topic Banner: A New York Gondolier))

((Reporter/Camera: Aaron Fedor))

((Producer: Kathleen McLaughlin))

((Editor: Kyle Dubiel))

((Map: Manhattan, New York))

((Main character: 1 male))

((NATS/MUSIC))

((NATS: Andrés García-Peña singing))

Beautiful in Central Park…

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

My name is Andrés García-Peña. I am a gondolier in Central Park for 27 years, and I am also an artist, a painter.

((NATS/MUSIC))

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

Basically, my best friend was the chef at the Boathouse, 27 years ago. And she told me about this gondola and, you know, me being a painter and all, she’s like, “You know, you might need a side gig at some point.” And when I came to see the boat, I was just, just very impressed by an authentic Venetian gondola in New York City. And I kind of just really wanted to learn how to row it, you know. And back then, the Boathouse was a fraction of what it is today, wasn’t really that busy or whatever. But I really enjoyed it and, well, been here for a long time now.

((NATS/MUSIC))

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

It took me a couple of days just to get the boat going straight, you know. It’s a hard thing to do actually. I mean, like anything, you know, practice makes perfect. Most people think it’s just a tourist thing, but it’s not, you know. It’s date night for New Yorkers. But, you know, of course, we do get a lot of tourists. With the pandemic and stuff, we don’t get the international tourists that we used to. You know, over the years, people from all over, all strata of, you know, economy. I mean, we’re right by Fifth Avenue, the richest part of the world, probably. But the gondola ride is not expensive. And, you know, I have kids, you know, on prom night, come in with their girlfriends, doing ­­­the gondola. So, you know, it’s everybody.

((NATS))

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

It’s really kind of a very special job because I get it to see people that are happy, number one. Celebrating romance, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, guys proposing. But you know what? One thing that you know you do, you do, you know, experience is that seeing true love, seeing people that are really in love with each other and coming on gondola rides. You know, it’s just good vibes. It’s a good, good thing for me. And I facilitate that, you know, their romance by telling them the history of the park, and the history about kissing under the bridge, and I sing romantic songs to them.

((NATS/MUSIC))

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park. He designed this lake with Venetian gondolas in mind.

((Courtesy: The Library of Congress))

1872, when Central Park opened its doors to the public, there was a fleet of gondolas here with authentic Venetian gondoliers, not imposters like me. There were about half a dozen Venetian gondolas here, giving rides. Bethesda Terrace was a very fancy part, where the hoity-toity would come up in their horse and buggies in the late 1800s. There was a restaurant, music underneath the arches there at the Bethesda Terrace.

So, this gondola has been here for…

((NATS: Andrés García-Peña and Ray))

Hey, Ray. Nice to see you, sir. Nice to see you.

Central Park, the best fisherman in Central Park right there. No, no. I’m not pointing at you, Ray. I’m pointing at her.

Yeah, her. She’s amazing.

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

So, this gondola has been here for 37 years. And I would say, it was approximately a 20-year-old gondola when it arrived. So, this is about a 60-year-old gondola.

((NATS/MUSIC))

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

Pretty much everything about this job is feel good. That’s why I think I’ve been doing it this long.

((Courtesy: Andrés García-Peña))

You know, being a painter, I’m in my studio alone.

I thrive for that. That’s what makes me happy and that’s my primary, you know, thing that I love to do. So, it’s nice to have a job where you, basically just positive energy, meeting people that are happy, explaining to them about the most beautiful park in the world.

((NATS/MUSIC))

((NATS: Andrés García-Peña singing))

A perfect day for romance at the Boathouse in Central Park.

((Andrés García-Peña

Gondolier))

So, I’ve been painting obviously a lot longer since than I’ve been a gondolier, been painting pretty much all my life. And when I first started doing the gondola, basically I was doing, I did the gondola my first 14 years. I did it seven days a week, which allowed me to just work and save money, and then basically work for like five, six months, and then I’d be off for six months and not have to worry about money. And so, I’ve always made art, you know, that I like to make and you know,

((Courtesy: Andrés García-Peña))

it’s not, maybe, not commercial, and I don’t care. I’ve always found that, you know, you can make money other ways. I’ve had some like, you know, success with certain series that I did more than others where I was able to make money. But doing the gondola basically allows me to have a great time and then be able to paint what I want and not sell out.

((NATS: Andrés García-Peña singing))

Newest

Newest

Oldest

See comments

Already have an account?

Log in

Not a registered user?

Sign up

Name

Your comment… *

Submit comment

Load more comments

by

Published on 2021-11-19

Shareable link: https://allaroundthe.news/articles/8423-a-new-york-gondolier   Copy URL
Share to:

Originally posted as: A New York Gondolier, made available by Voice of America under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal license.


Back to the Front Page
Loading, please wait...