The New York City Ferry System, which started its ferrying in 2017, connects four out of the five boroughs. The ferry system currently has six routes through which it serves neighborhoods like Lower Manhattan, The Rockaways, and the Lower East Side. And in the next couple of years, the New York City Ferry System plans on adding several new stops and routes to their service.
This is by far one of the most pleasant ways to travel around New York City!
New York’s ferry system offers mini-voyages on the East River, and throughout the New York Harbor to give you sprawling cityscape views. They are also a gorgeous way for non-natives to absorb the boroughs without spending a fortune!
Here’s your chance to take a break from your normal route and routine, or a mid-weekend activity with or without company! It’s definitely one of the most leisurely ways to get a glimpse of a lot of what New York City has to offer.
Here’s a video by the New York Times on why New York’s Ferry System is so popular:
Routes currenty operational
When the NYC ferry began in May 2017, until the end of 2018, the NYC Ferry ran through six routes: East River, Rockaway, Astoria, South Brooklyn, Lower East Side, and Soundview. (A new Brooklyn Navy Yard stop has since been added to the Astoria Route.)
The main hub for the NYC Ferry is Pier 11/Wall Street, where all lines converge. On summer weekends, you can also find South Brooklyn and East River routes connecting to Governors Island from there.
How much does a ferry ride cost?
It’s the same as riding the subway: $2.75 for a one-way fare, and $121 for a 30-day pass. You have to pay an additional $1 to bring your bike on board, which translates to $141 for a 30-day pass.
Unfortunately, the MetroCard — used for other public commutes, doesn’t work on the Ferry. However, the ferry service does offer free transfers within its routes up to 90 minutes from when you first board the ferry.
How can ferry tickets be purchased?
All ferry landings have electronic vending machines and ticket agents to help you out, but the easiest way by far is to just download the ferry app on your smartphone. This app also offers a detailed breakdown of the ferry schedule.
If you don’t want to crowd your phone with yet another app then you can also purchase tickets on the NYC Ferry’s website.
How long is the ride?
Each route varies in duration, and here’s what a new traveler needs to know:
- The shortest route is the Lower East Side, which takes about 34 minutes to complete.
- The route that connects The Rockaways and Wall Street take approximately 57 minutes.
- It takes about 35 minutes between Wall Street and Astoria.
- From South Brooklyn to Pier 11 it’s 46 minutes.
- The Soundview trip takes 46 minutes, and the East River route lasts 48 minutes.
What can be expected once onboard?
Don’t just expect Wi-Fi and charging stations, you can also find an array of beverages, including the fun ones. The ferry offers beer on tap, wine and coffee, along with a selection of snacks, all part of a concessions stand called The New Stand.
Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the NYC Ferry system in 2017, as an alternative to the public transportation offered by the MTA. This was meant to be affordable to everyday New Yorkers just like the subway and the busses.
The latest ferry boats holds up to 350 riders, as opposed to a single subway train that can easily carry upwards of a 1000 straphangers alone.
But even after all its struggles, the ferry system draws millions of riders each year as the city continues to pour resources into it — so you shouldn’t expect it to go anywhere anytime soon.
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