Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 06, 2016

State Parks Press Office:
Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Announces New Restaurant and Additional Recreation Activities at Buffalo Harbor State Park

New membership boat club and kayak rentals will be available this summer

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced the opening of Charlie's Boat Yard Restaurant at Buffalo Harbor State Park. The newly renovated restaurant will give the public a tasteful way to enjoy Buffalo's beautiful waterfront. Local owners Chuck and Mary Goodspeed have invested nearly $180,000 in renovations and plan to employ a staff of sixty people.

"This will be a wonderful year for Buffalo Harbor State Park as we work to build on the success we have already seen with the nautical themed playground and other activities," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "We invite the Western New York community to take advantage of the new restaurant, get out on the water with a rental boat and be a part of this growing waterfront destination."

"We are pouring our heart, soul and resources into the Boat Yard restaurant because we see it as our way of investing in the future success of Buffalo's waterfront," said Mary Goodspeed, owner of Charlie's Boat Yard Restaurant. "Governor Cuomo made the brilliant decision to create the Buffalo Harbor State Park, now we are capitalizing on the unique location by providing amenities the public will absolutely love."

The inside of the 2,800 square foot restaurant has been redone with a modern nautical theme. An 1,800 square foot patio, as well as an outdoor bar, has been added as a perfect place to dine alfresco and enjoy the sunsets.

Charlie's Boat Yard will be offering lunch and dinner seven days a week with breakfast also served on the weekends. Boaters can take advantage of dockside service with a delivery boat bringing food right to their bow.

In addition to the restaurant, park visitors will have two new ways to get out on the water this summer.

The Freedom Boat Club (FBC), a membership based boating club, will be setting up a locally owned franchise at Safe Harbor Marina. FBC members will receive unlimited access to a new fleet of fishing boats, deck boats and pontoon boats which are owned and maintained by the club. Although membership boat clubs are new to Buffalo, FBC has been in business since 1989 and has over 10,000 members nationwide. This is a great club for someone looking to get into boating, or someone who wants to be on the water but doesn't want the work and expense that comes with boat ownership. Members reserve the boat, show up at the dock and take off. Another unique aspect about FBC is its 100 locations with more than 1,000 boats around the U.S. which can be accessed on a reciprocal basis at no extra cost. Members heading to Florida, Boston, San Diego or many spots in between can reserve a boat and enjoy the water at their favorite destination - a real bonus for Buffalo-based snowbirds. Like most clubs, there will be social events and boating related seminars. More information can be found at .

For boaters who would rather be self-propelled, there is the new Outer Harbor Kayaks (716-445-5881) rental service open at the Gallagher Pier. Kayaks will be available to rent on an hourly basis. As Buffalo's waterfront continues to be developed, many people are eager to explore the shoreline. A paddle from the Buffalo Harbor State Park to Canalside at the Inner Harbor is sure to be a popular excursion.

"Safe Harbor is committed to offering new and diverse ways to get Western New Yorkers out on the water. We are pleased to partner with the Freedom Boat Club and Outer Harbor Kayaks for those who enjoy actively being out there and of course for those who just enjoy watching water, we know that Charlie's Boatyard will become a very popular destination. Safe Harbor is thrilled to be a part of Buffalo's waterfront renaissance," said Darby Campbell, owner of Safe Harbor Development.

Work has begun on the $3.76 million rehabilitation of the breakwall and revetment. This project is phase two of the $15 million in capital improvements provided through the NY Parks 2020 plan to completely reinvigorate the Buffalo Harbor waterfront. The rehabilitated breakwall is being stabilized and will include paved walking and bike paths, shaded seating areas, the introduction of a fishing platform and lighting. The southern revetment will also be rehabilitated and like the breakwall, will be stabilized and feature increased fishing access. The southern revetment is expected to be completed by the summer and the breakwall by September 2016. View the newest improvements here.

Robert Gioia, Chairman of ECHDC and the Buffalo Waterfront Development Advisory Committee and President of the Oishei Foundation said, "Access to the waterfront is what drives all of our decisions at ECHDC. We are happy to see a new restaurant that provides a way to relax at the water's edge and rental boats that give people an opportunity to spend time on the lake. Buffalo's Outer Harbor is the place to be this summer."

"As the weather warms we welcome new opportunities to enjoy Buffalo's waterfront with the addition of a new restaurant and recreational amenities," said Congressman Brian Higgins. "Charlie's Boat Yard under the leadership of the Goodspeed family, complimented by new boating facilities, will draw in Western New Yorkers and visitors alike as we continue to re-invent and re-imagine the possibilities along the water's edge."

"As Buffalo continues to see revitalization along its waterfront, so too do we see continued access, and more importantly opportunity, for people who call the City of Good Neighbors home," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "I look forward to taking my family to Charlie's Boatyard this summer, and I thank Governor Cuomo and Congressman Higgins for their strong leadership in spurring and fostering this unprecedented investment and growth."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said "I welcome Charlie's Boat Yard to the Buffalo waterfront landscape and wish them the best of luck. I am confident that this new restaurant will become an important waterfront destination for both residents and visitors. Additionally, the new boat memberships, and kayak rentals at Gallagher Beach will offer new ways to enjoy public access to the water. I am looking forward to the upcoming summer season along Buffalo's waterfront."

"The redevelopment of our city's waterfront continues to gain momentum and the opening of the newly renovated Charlie's Boat Yard will provide yet another great waterfront destination for city residents and visitors to enjoy in downtown Buffalo," said Mayor Byron Brown. "There is something for everyone in Buffalo, and it's wonderful to see our vision turn into a reality with more and more people rediscovering our city's waterfront as a result of significant and strategic investment and collaboration that continues to create increased growth and opportunity each day."

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor's NY Parks 2020 plan is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor's 2016-17 Executive Budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.