NYC Ferry in New York

NYC Ferry in New York

The ferries on the Hudson River and East River in New York, known as NYC Ferry, take you cheaply and easily to and from Manhattan. Do you want to visit Brooklyn or Queens? Or are you staying in a hotel in Long Island City? Then cross the East River on a ferry and take in great views of the New York skyline along the way. The ferries are a nice alternative to the, often busy, subway. With NYC Ferry you travel at a reasonable price with the added benefit of the Manhattan skyline views during the journey.

Six Routes

NYC Ferry operates six set routes throughout the year: the East River Route, the Astoria Route, the South Brooklyn Route, the Rockaway Route, the St. George Route and the Soundview Route. There are docks located in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, as well as in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

Tickets for NYC Ferry

You can buy tickets for NYC Ferry from the ticket machines on each dock, for $4.00 per ride. Tickets are also available via the NYC Ferry app. MetroCard cannot be used for the ferries. The ferry service is certainly a nice addition to the subway. Do bear in mind, though, that the boats are less frequent than the subway trains; so you may have to wait a little longer. The ferries are also commonly used by commuters. Therefore, I recommend avoiding the morning and afternoon rush hours as the rest of the day is much calmer.

NYC Ferry in New York - Routes NYC Ferry in New York - Ticket Machines

Taking the NYC Ferry

On the various NYC Ferry routes, you can combine travelling from A to B with sightseeing. It is really nice to sit on board a boat whilst enjoying the view, especially in the summer. Consequently, there are some routes where I would definitely recommend taking the ferry instead of the subway, at least once.

Brooklyn Bridge

NYC Ferry makes it easier to combine a visit to Lower Manhattan and the Financial District with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. One option is to take the South Brooklyn or the East River Ferry from Wall Street to DUMBO. From there, see the skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park and walk back over the bridge to Manhattan. Or, if you have trouble walking, you can take the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn and the ferry back. That way, you don’t need to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but you do get the same great view.

Long Island City

If you are staying in a hotel close to the Long Island City Dock (at Gantry Plaza State Park), you can get to Manhattan faster on the Astoria Ferry than you can travel by subway. Is your hotel closer to a subway station? Then the subway is probably quicker, but I recommend changing it up and taking the ferry at least once. You can also get from Long Island City to Roosevelt Island on the Astoria Ferry. Are you visiting Roosevelt Island from Manhattan? Then take the famous cable car there and the ferry back.

NYC Ferry in New York - Brooklyn Bridge NYC Ferry in New York - Queens

Governors Island

Whenever you want to escape the urban jungle, you can take the NYC Ferry to Governors Island. Thanks to the South Brooklyn Route, you can visit the island all year long. This route departs from Corlears Hook in the Lower East Side. On Governors Island, you can walk or bike around the island.

Taking a bike

If you are planning on renting a bike in New York, you can make it an extra special experience by adding a ferry ride. For example, you can pick up your bike at the Brooklyn Bridge. Then spend some time cycling the streets of Lower Manhattan before taking the bike on the ferry over to Brooklyn. This costs just $1 on top of the normal ticket price of $4.00. Cycle through Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO and ride back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge. You could even make a day trip out of it and cycle all the way to Williamsburg. Then take the ferry, from there, back over to Manhattan where you can cycle through Midtown towards Central Park and return your bike there.

Rockaway Beach

When you feel like having a beach day you can take the ferry from Wall Street to Rockaway Beach. In around an hour the Rockaway Ferry brings you from Manhattan to the Rockaway Beach peninsula, on the south side of Queens. It is less touristy than Coney Island but is a nice place to visit in the warm summer months, especially when combined with the relaxing boat ride.

Eric’s Tip: The ferry can be faster or slower than the subway, depending on its departure point and destination. However, in all circumstances, it is really fun to mix things up and make use of the NYC Ferry at least once. A ticket is not expensive and you often get a great view along the way; a bit different from taking the subway! There are toilets on all ferries, as well as a kiosk to buy drinks and snacks. Don’t confuse NYC Ferry with the free Staten Island Ferry! That only takes you to and from Staten Island.

NYC Ferry in New York - Empire State Building NYC Ferry in New York - Ferry Ride

How do you pay for NYC Ferry?

You can buy NYC Ferry tickets from the ticket machines by the docks. Tickets are also available via the NYC Ferry app.

Where does the NYC Ferry go?

NYC Ferry operates multiple routes along the East River. Read more and see a map of the routes here.

How much is a ride on the NYC Ferry?

A ride with the NYC Ferry costs $ 4.00.

About the Author

Hey there, I'm Eric! I'm a true New York fan with over 20 years of experience visiting and living in NYC. Here on my website, I share all my tips and valuable information to help you make the most of your trip. I personally test and regularly re-test everything on my site to ensure that what I write is useful, honest, and always up-to-date.
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