NEW YORK — Ferry service in New York City is, at times, maligned. While not its intended function, ferries in the Big Apple are a great way to take in the cityscape.
Plus, it’s much more cost-effective than many scenic cruises.
I’ve written often about the Staten Island Ferry, the venerable transportation link between Staten Island and Manhattan. It remains one of the best ways to enjoy the Statue of Liberty, but it is not the only ferry plying New York City’s busy waterways.
The 172-acre Governors Island sits a mere 800 yards from lower Manhattan. Yet, somehow, it feels a world away, particularly given the slower pace and the island’s openness.
While the military long used the island, it opened to the public in 2005. Today, it is today a popular getaway for locals. Governors Island National Monument occupies a portion of the island and incorporates a pair of former military installations, Fort Jay and Castle Williams.
Aside from the history, the island is the ideal location to watch harbor traffic and spy views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. Ferries provide easy access to and from both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
NYC Ferry began operations in 2017 with the idea of providing a cost-effective travel alternative for locals. While some have criticized the service, it remains popular among many in the City That Never Sleeps.
It is also popular with many visitors. While it is a viable transportation option, the ferry can double as a scenic cruise, particularly the longer routes like the one to Rockaway.
Boats on the Rockaway pass beneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, offering travelers a unique and magnificent view of the bridge that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island, forever changing both boroughs.
Staten Island Ferry
If all else fails, hop the Staten Island Ferry to New York’s “Forgotten Borough.” The 25-minute-long trip takes riders past Lady Liberty. In doing so, it offers some of the best rides this side of a Battery Park hawker.
Here’s a novel idea, instead of disembarking the ferry in Staten Island and immediately boarding the next boat back to Manhattan, stay for a bit. Explore somewhere outside of the tourist epicenters in New York City.
If nothing else, the ferry has a bar. What can top enjoying a drink while ferrying across New York Harbor?