East River Ferry

This post is about the East River Ferry service including information about tickets, schedules, routes and what there is to see along each route.  At just $2.75 per ticket, this is the cheapest boat ride in NYC – except for the free Staten Island Ferry, which is a New York City must-do!

 

 


OVERVIEW

The ferry is a great alternative to get from one destination to another and has many advantages. It is faster than the subway (in most cases), it is certainly a much more pleasant ride than the subway, and believe it or not, it is the same price as the subway.

In this post, you will find information on how to buy tickets, prices and other useful tips about riding the ferry. We’ve also detailed the different routes and what there is to do at each stop along those routes. 

The ferry has several routes (see below), and each has amazing views of various parts of the city.  Most routes will offer you views of Lower Manhattan, the Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge and more.

Some routes, such as the East River Route, will give you a gorgeous view of the skyline of  Midtown Manhattan, with the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building

And since the ferry runs till just past 10 pm, it’s one of the best (and almost free) things to do at night in NYC.

The East River Ferry service has gone all out to make this commuter ferry feel like a city cruise! They sell quality snacks, have a gift shop with unique items, and have charging stations for your phones. There will also be free wi-fi so you can research your plans for when you step back onto dry land.

Note that this is not a hop-on, hop-off ferry. It operates the same as the subway does – once you get off, your ride is done. If you want to get back on, you must buy another ticket. 

If you are curious about hop-on, hop off ferries, our post, Which New York Boat Tour or Cruise is Best? can help you decide if a hop-on-hop-off ferry is right for you.


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HOW TO BUY TICKETS

For all routes, there are two tickets types available – a single-ride ticket, one-way ticket (which is what you will likely want) and 30-day passes meant for commuter use. You can also bring a bike along for an additional cost.

You cannot use your subway MetroCard. You must buy a ferry ticket.

fery machine

There are two ways to buy tickets:

1) Ticket machines are readily available at the landings. Ticket Agents can help you with your purchase. You can pay with a credit card, debit card or cash.

2) Purchase tickets with your credit or debit card through their website or their app then redeem your ticket by showing your phone when you board the ferry. Download the NYC Ferry app here: App for Android or App for iOS

Ticket Prices (as of 2018):

  • Adult One-Way Pass $2.75
  • Children: up to two children under the height of 44 inches ride free when accompanied by an adult.
  • Bicycle ticket $1.00 one-way
  • 30-Day Adult Pass $121.00
  • 30-Day Adult Pass with Bike $141.00

Note: For additional information about tickets, click here.

TIP: NYC subway apps like CityMapper have begun including the ferry in suggested routes. Google Maps directions sometimes include the ferry, but only during the times it is running.

Unlike the subway, it does not run all night. Still, keep your eye out when using subway apps and you might find out that taking the Ferry is the best option!

For more information, see our post, Best NYC Subway Apps.
 


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ROUTES

East River Route

You can board at either end of the route. You can ride from end to end in 37 minutes. Not bad for $2.75.

Schedule:

Remember, this is a commuter ferry which means that at “rush hour,” you will find crowded boats and long lines. We recommend that for a more leisurely voyage that you take the ferry after 10 am and before 4 pm.  Below is the schedule, generally. Always check the official ferry schedule when planning your trip.

  • Monday- Friday: Ferry service begins at both ends (Wall St and 34th Street) at approximately 6:30 am and the last ferries depart from both ends at 10:13 pm. Between those hours, the ferry departs approximately every 30 minutes.
  • Weekends: Ferry service begins at both ends (Wall St and 34th Street) at approximately 6:30 am and the last ferries depart from both ends at 10:15 pm. Between those hours, the ferry departs approximately every 45 minutes.

Things to do at each stop: 

Wall Street/Pier 11

Governors Island (summer weekends only)   

This small island in the middle of the harbor is just 4 minutes from Manhattan. With no cars and historic houses, it is a playground for both kids and grown-ups. Get the scoop on all you need to know at our post Things to Do on Governors Island.

 

 

DUMBO (Brooklyn)

  • This is a must-see neighborhood. Read our Things to Do in DUMBO post to see why you should consider visiting DUMBO. We offer several pay-what-you-like walking tours in the area. See our tour calendar for scheduling.
  • Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge! DUMBO is a great launching spot for the grand walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Our guide to how to make the most of your Brooklyn Bridge walk will help you make the most of this unforgettable experience.
  • PIZZA! Both these places are among the top ten pizzerias in New York City. And both are about one block from the ferry landing! Grimaldi’s 1 Front Street and Juliana’s 19 Old Fulton Street.
  • Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is just a hop, skip and a jump from the ferry landing.

South Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

  • This is a primarily residential neighborhood to hipsters and Hasidic Jews. But there are secrets to be found including some amazing food.
  • Our pay what you like Williamsburg Food Tour. The ferry landing is just 13 minutes away from the start of the tour.

North Williamsburg (Brooklyn)

  • Relax in the East River Park, a 7-acre waterfront park with views of the Manhattan skyline. Stroll around this vibrant artsy, fun-loving neighborhood.
  • Our pay what you like Williamsburg walking tour starts just a 10-minute walk from the ferry landing.
  • If street art is more your thing, we have a pay what you like Williamsburg Street Art Tour that begins just 10 minutes away from the ferry landing.
  • Love Street Art? Catch the L train to Bushwick, the Street Art capital of New York City and use our Bushwick self-guided tour to explore the scene or take our pay what you like Bushwick Street Art tour.

Greenpoint (Brooklyn)

  • While still a residential neighborhood with a carryover of Williamsburg cool, you can check out small, relaxing Transmitter Park right near the ferry landing. It’s a prime spot for unsurpassed panoramic views of the skyline. It would make an ideal stop on one of our custom tailored photography safari tours.
  • Get some of the best pizza in the entire city at Paulie Gee’s! Consistently voted in the top ten pizzerias in New York City. For other best pizza joints, see our post The Best Pizza in New York City by Neighborhood.

Hunters Point South (Long Island City, Queens)

East 34th Street (Midtown Manhattan)  

When you disembark at this stop, there is a free shuttle bus that makes dozens of stops, conveniently close to sights that are likely on your New York City bucket-list. You can find out more about the shuttle bus here.

TIP: A great way to get from sight to sight is to take a Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour. Check out the options in our detailed post on New York Bus Tours.


Click here to download a PDF version of the route map.

 


 

South Brooklyn Route 

The South Brooklyn ferry stops in neighborhoods that have been begging for more transportation options for decades. Commuters from these areas are thrilled! But this ferry route is also a great way to explore lesser-known Brooklyn neighborhoods that have much to offer.

Things to do at each stop: 

Wall Street/Pier 11 (See above) 

DUMBO (See above) 

Atlantic Avenue/Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6

  • The ferry landing is also the southern entrance to the phenomenal Brooklyn Bridge Park. This 85‐acre sustainable waterfront park located along a 1.3 mile stretch of the East River you can stop and smell the flowers, suntan on a sandy man-made beach, play sports, have a picnic, celebrate the expansive sky and see a beautiful view of Manhattan. Here’s a map of the entire park.

Governors Island (summer weekends only) (see above)

Red Hook

  • This waterfront enclave was a historically industrial neighborhood that underwent a transformation in the past ten years and is now the site of an art and culture scene as a fun restaurant and bar scene where you will likely be the only non-New Yorkers there. Immerse yourself in the local scene, now made accessible to all via the ferry! 

Sunset Park

  • This is the location of New York City’s second largest Chinatown. Try any number of the great Chinese restaurants and the ferry ride will have been worth it. If you haven’t visited the oldest Chinatown in New York City, join us for our pay-what-you-like Chinatown Food Tour.
  • Chinese food not your thing? No worries, along Sunset Park’s Fifth Avenue, there are also restaurants that specialize in cuisines from almost every country in Latin America—Cuban, Ecuadorian, Mexican, Caribbean, Salvadorian, and Dominican.
  • We recommend you use Serious Eats’ food guide to Sunset Park to narrow down the options.
  • You can also hike over to Greenwood Cemetery, one of the most beautiful green spaces in the city located on a hill from which you can see all the way to the Statue of Liberty.

Bay Ridge

  • Definitely for commuters only. You may want to hop off the ferry at one of the earlier stops as Bay Ridge is very residential and a far subway ride back to the city.

 


Astoria Route

This route offers the same great views of the East River route and then takes you to some off-the-beaten-tourist-track neighborhoods. Astoria is known for its Greek community. It’s where many New Yorkers head to for the best moussaka, spanakopita, and souvlaki in NYC.  For foodies, that alone is reason to take this ferry route. Long Island City is the destination for lovely green space along the water, as well as cutting-edge art and several unusual museums.  But if there is one reason alone to take this route, it is to see Roosevelt Island.

Things to do at each stop: 

Wall Street/Pier 11 (See above)

East 34th Street (see above)

Long Island City

Roosevelt Island

  • This small island is located on the East River, with Manhattan to the west and Queens to the east. Though it is primarily residential, Roosevelt Island is considered an NYC hidden gem, with wide-open green spaces with breathtaking views, landmarked buildings, and the eerie remnants of a smallpox hospital built in 1856. We highly recommend you visit Roosevelt Island if you have time. Use our self-guided tour to explore the island. Then take the aerial tram for a thrilling 3-minute ride with spectacular views.

Astoria

  • Drink beer! Check out NYC’s largest outdoor beer garden at Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, serving up some of the best Czech and craft beers available. You can also take a free brewery tour at Single Cut Beersmiths. See our post on free brewery tours for more information. 
  • Museum of the Moving Image for cinema lovers, this preeminent history museum will not disappoint. You can also see movies there. Some exhibits are kid-friendly, like the Jim Henson/Muppets exhibit.
  • No visit to Astoria is complete without eating some Greek food.  Find recommendations here.

 


 

Rockaway Route 

Currently, this is the longest route, lasting almost a full hour. This route was created specifically to ease the horrible commute for residents of distant areas in Brooklyn who work in Lower Manhattan. It makes just three stops, Wall Street/Pier 11 (see above), Sunset Park (see above) and Rockaway. This ferry has become popular with locals and visitors in the summer months who want a fun way to get out to the beach. Rockaway Beach is one of the nicest and most popular beaches in New York City. You might be surprised to know that we have several nice and easy to reach beaches in the city. Our post, New York City Beaches, will help you find them.

 


 

Coming in 2018 – LOWER EAST SIDE and SOUNDVIEW!

STAY TUNED!

 


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Written by Courtney Shapiro

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