Lonely Planet Writer

See New York's skyline for under $3 on board a new public ferry service

A new ferry service is New York will give locals and travellers a chance to get off the subway and enjoy a new way to explore the city along the East River and New York Harbor.

A new NYC Ferry boat arrives at Brooklyn Bridge Park for a dedication ceremony.
A new NYC Ferry boat arrives at Brooklyn Bridge Park for a dedication ceremony. Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

NYC Ferry’s first two paths, the Rockaway and East River routes, went into service on 1 May. The new routes are the first of six that are designed to provide transit connections between southern Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan – and give travellers a chance to get out of traffic and out into some fresh air as they connect to some popular New York attractions.

While the ferries are designed to shorten the long commutes New Yorkers often face, it will also allow travellers see some areas of the city without facing heavy traffic. Plus, the price of a ride is only $2.75 – the same price as taking the subway – and will feature amenities like charging stations, Wi-Fi and concessions that serve wine and beer. The cost of a 30-day unlimited ferry pass will be $121, the same as a 30-day MetroCard.

The East River and Lower Manhattan, New York.
The East River and Lower Manhattan, New York. Image by WIN-Initiative/Getty Images

The Rockaway route travels between the Rockaway Peninsula, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and Wall Street’s Pier 11. The East River route travels to spots like Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, Governors Island during the summer and Pier 11. Staring on 1 June, the South Brooklyn Route will launch, providing a link between Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street. There will also be an Astoria service starting in August, and a Lower East Side and Soundview routes starting next year.

The service not only brings travellers to popular neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Red Hook, but historic spots like Governor’s Island and to some of the city’s coastal communities.

“With NYC Ferry, locals can more easily discover new destinations and neighborhoods just beyond the ferry stops, from the Rockaways, to Sunset Park and Wall Street,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism group. They even created a neighbourhood guide to suggest places to check out in neighborhoods by the ferry stops at nycgo.com.