After years of planning, New York City’s ambitious $325 million citywide ferry service, NYC Ferry, debuts on May 1. Rolling out with East River and Rockaway service, the ferry will add more routes throughout the summer and into next year. This major expansion of the current East River ferry service adds new stops along with a fare system that will make traveling the City’s waterways the same price as a subway ride—just $2.75. If you’re traveling with kids, know that passengers under 3'8" ride for free!
The sleek fleet of new ferry boats offer onboard amenities like food, drinks and charging stations for your devices. The ferry also affords a great new way to explore areas of the City that once were harder to access but now are just a quick boat ride away. Below, find a list of some suggested things to see and do (not to mention eat!) at all the stops along your journey.
East River service stops at East 34th Street, Hunters Point South, Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, Dumbo, Governors Island (seasonal) and Wall Street/Pier 11. Approximate total travel time: 39 minutes.
Rockaway service stops at Wall Street/Pier 11, Sunset Park and Rockaway. Approximate total time: 59 minutes.
Hunters Point South
Located at the tip of Long Island City’s Hunters Point Park, Coffeed serves up coffee, bagels, sandwiches and even beer and wine in a scenic East River green space with Instagram-ready skyline views.
Due to open later this year, the Hunters Point Community Library is a striking new addition to the Queens waterfront, with a design by Steven Holl Architects featuring a shiny aluminum facade with irregular cutouts.
Just a short walk from the waterfront, Transmitter Brewing produces a host of small-batch local ales, which you can sample in their tasting room Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The Creek and The Cave is more than just a popular LIC bar—it also features special events like stand-up comedy, film screenings and live bands.
Transmitter Park is located right on the East River, with a scenic pier offering up remarkable panoramic views.
One of the most famous pizza joints in the City, Paulie Gee's dishes up some serious Italian pies, along with some serious wait times. Plan ahead!
The Moonlight Mile is a laid-back local whiskey bar with Southern-style hospitality, fancy beef jerky and a classic rock jukebox.
Greenpoint’s inventive Ovenly is one of best-known bakeries in Brooklyn, especially popular for its cakes and pies.
When it comes to Williamsburg shopping, Artists and Fleas is not to be missed. You’ll find a lively mix of thrift items, local fashion and artisanal wares.
Smorgasburg is the granddaddy of all outdoor food markets. Sample all kinds of delicious snacks and goods-to-go on Saturdays during the warmer months.
The original Toby’s Estate Coffee is located just a couple blocks from the ferry stop; savor a fresh roasted cup of joe or take some gourmet grinds to go.
Yes, records are still a thing! Peruse an impressive collection of vinyl along with T-shirts and other musical ephemera at Rough Trade NYC.
National Sawdust is a venue for live music with an avant-garde flair. There’s also a newish café-restaurant, Rider, in this restored warehouse’s mod lobby.
Living up to its name, OddFellows Ice Cream Co. offers some truly odd flavors, rotating them daily. (Miso peanut butter or chorizo caramel swirl, anyone?)
Brooklyn Bowl has 16 bowling lanes and a lot more besides: live bands, cocktails and craft beers, plus plenty of all-American snacks to fill up on between frames.
A hip nightspot that always draws a crowd, Baby’s All Right also has got it going on daytime for its lively weekend brunch.
Giando on the Water is known for its classic Italian fare as well as some great vistas of Manhattan.
Whether you’re in need of a quick snack or need to do more substantial grocery shopping, Urban Market of Williamsburg is a convenient place to stop on your way to and from the ferry.
During World War II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard built many ships that served. Today, it’s host to local businesses, a working movie studio, a museum and guided tours that explore its historic past.
Meadowsweet shares the same block with famed steakhouse Peter Luger but goes its own culinary way with a focus on Mediterranean-style cooking, using seasonal ingredients and fresh herbs from the restaurant’s rooftop garden.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is an expansive public recreation spot, encompassing multiple piers and lushly landscaped green spaces.
The newly opened Empire Stores takes one of the oldest brick structures on the Brooklyn waterfront and turns it into a vibrant retail, office and public space worth a visit, especially to shop at West Elm’s flagship location.
Brewing up organic and sustainable coffees from around the world, Brooklyn Roasting Company is a great spot in Dumbo (there are multiple neighborhood locations) to relax with a hot beverage and a delicious pastry or light snack.
Set inside a stunning a jewel-box design by Jean Nouvel, Jane’s Carousel is a beautifully restored antique ride in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
PowerHouse Books has been a Dumbo fixture for more than a decade, selling a wide range of its own art and photography books, along with a sizable children’s section.
Governors Island (seasonal)
Governors Island, open in warm-weather months, feels like a secret retreat; enjoy arts-related events, outdoor activities, tasty bites from food vendors and a bit of relaxation.
Wall Street/Pier 11
The South Street Seaport’s cobblestone walkways, restored buildings and lively piers hold shops, restaurants and exhibitions.
On the Seaport District’s Pier 15, Watermark Bar provides an indoor-outdoor space for sipping tropical drinks, having a light bite and gazing out at the Brooklyn Bridge.
Industry Kitchen sits along the water, its light woods and picture windows lending a modern feel to the area. You can also enjoy your cocktails and wood-fired pizzas from a picnic table on the outdoor patio.
Is the Dead Rabbit the world’s best bar, as Drinks International magazine (and others) has proclaimed? Step in for some expertly mixed cocktails and elevated pub food to judge for yourself.
Brooklyn Army Terminal, where the ferry stops, was a World War II base for shipping both supplies and soldiers abroad (most famously Elvis in the 1950s). Today there are occasional tours of this massive revamped warehouse, which features railroad tracks running through the middle of its courtyard. Beyond the terminal, head farther afield to find the neighborhood's diverse offerings, including Industry City, a manufacturing complex repurposed for local businesses, and the area’s Latin American and Chinese cuisines. (For more, see our guide to Sunset Park).
Rockaway Beach, a 5-mile stretch of sand on the Atlantic Ocean, is a popular NYC summer spot for sunbathing, strolling on the boardwalk or even surfing. NOTE: For summer 2018, a section of the beach will be closed from Beach 91st Street to Beach 102nd Street.
A homey café with an international touch, Cuisine by Claudette is a great place for a bite to eat before or after a day at the beach.
Inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, you’ll find heaven in a shipping container; seasonal Tacoway Beach cooks up delicious fish tacos in the courtyard of this hip hangout.
With its electric-lime paint job, Rippers puts a rock ’n’ roll spin on a classic beach concession stand. In addition to the hot dogs and hamburgers, they also feature special events and live music.
Located close to the ferry on Jamaica Bay, Thai Rock serves authentic Thai cuisine with a side of live music. And don’t miss the stunning sunsets while sitting on their dock of the bay.