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The NYC Ferry, Our Favorite Way to Get Around NYC

Ferry Service is the Way to Go

I had now idea that ferry service was available near us! The NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower, took a calculated risk when they offered ferry service on the Soundview line. Outside of Bronx residents that live in the immediate area of the dock, you likely don’t even know that the NYC Ferry operates in the Bronx. When I initially thought of ferry service I expected seats filled with dark suits tapping away on their iPhones or reading their newspaper as they made their way to a cubicle on Wall Street. Additionally, I expected to pay a pretty penny to ride the ferry.

I was excited to find out that the NYC Ferry costs the same price as a one way trip on the subway. You can’t beat the $2.75 price tag. That alone was reason enough for us to choose a ferry ride along the East River over the cramped trek through the subway system.

The NYC Ferry App

If you are planning on taking the ferry, you can get real-time updates on ferries, purchase your tickets and plan out your trips via the NYC Ferry app. The app is available for Android and iOS users. If you purchase a ticket via the app, it remains valid for one year. This is the same with paper tickets. Each ticket includes a free transfer, within 90 minutes of your initial boarding time. If you lose your paper transfer ticket you will have to purchase a new fare. With your phone everything is stored within the app. The app is also the only way that you can purchase a 30-day unlimited trip pass.

Updates to services, holiday schedules and seasonal update information can always be found on the app. 

NYC Ferry one way ticket

Taking the NYC Ferry is 100x Easier Than Busses & Trains

When I say it is 100 times easier to commute via the NYC Ferry, I’m taking into account commuting through New York City with a toddler and a stroller.  The ferry makes it painless.

If you’ve ever taken a bus or subway in NYC with a small child you have to make the executive decision to lug a hefty stroller around or strap on your Ergo carrier. Neither option is ideal. You can’t keep a stroller open on a NYC bus and even if your subway station has an elevator the chance of it actually being is service are hit or miss. Let’s not forget actually finding room in a crowded train car. Once you get to your destination you may have to try to pull your child and stroller up several flights of stairs, even with help, it’s NOT FUN!

With the NYC Ferry you can walk right on board and find a place to park your stroller on the lower deck. I haven’t encountered any issues with collapsing my stroller and stowing it in an empty row before heading to the upper deck to enjoy the gorgeous views of the city.

NYC Ferry lower deck

Ride in Style for ONLY $2.75

If you have taken a ferry in NYC or anywhere else in the US, you not most come with a price tag. You can’t beat the $2.75 NYC Ferry fare. Seriously, you aren’t going to any of the other modes of transportation in NYC for that price. 

All ferries are climate controlled on the lower deck and you can enjoy the views from the outdoor upper deck or via a window seat on the lower deck. All ferries also have a full service concession stand and restroom. Whether you need a coffee on your morning commute to the office or IPA to kick off the weekend on your way home, you’ll find it at The News Stand (the name of the concession stand).

You’ll also find charging outlets throughout the lower deck, if you forgot your charger, you can buy one at the News Stand. No more waiting to get to a subway station just to get a few moments of cell service. The 27 vessel fleet if not currently outfitted for wifi so you may not be able to get work done on your commute if you need wifi on your laptop or other devices.

Traveling with a stroller and children under 44″ is free, but if you are commuting with a bike you will need to pay $1 to bring and store your bike onboard. If you have a smaller folding bike you can collapse it and take it along at no additional charge.

NYC Ferry Soundview Bronx upper deck

Where Can You Go?

Currently the NYC Ferry operates six permanent service lines with and 20 stops. Most of the service is along the East River, connecting four of the five boroughs. Summer weekend service is available to Governors Island via Pier 11 at Wall Street.

The easiest way to find time schedules and destination changes is to use the NYC Ferry app. Going from Soundview in the Bronx to DUMBO, Brooklyn couldn’t be easier. No train transfers, service delays or trying to figure out if trains are operating on different lines. Time breezes by much quicker and you don’t have to worry about traffic on the FDR or running for a train transfer. The commute time via the ferry is comparable to a subway ride and faster than bus service. We’ve actually spent more time and money using Uber and Lyft because we didn’t know the ferry service was available nearby.

In 2020 St. George, Staten Island service will be added. We are looking forward to the Coney Island service, which is slated for 2021.

NYC Ferry Service Route Map 2019

See New York City from the Water

Taking the train is cool, but there is nothing like watching the city float by as you sit in comfort. The NYC Ferry service even takes steps to enjoy you have an enjoyable ride. Once the ferry is at capacity they will stop loading passengers. No more worrying about being elbowed by other commuters trying to squeeze into a space that won’t fit a backpack, let alone another passenger.

The views don’t get old, in fact watching the city and other vessels pass by is soothing. This is a commute you actually look forward to. Stazi tends to get cranky on the subway and doesn’t always like to sit still when we get on a NYC bus. On the NYC Ferry she can walk along the decks and look out the windows when she isn’t consumed by her educational games on her tablet.

There are tables as well, so you can grab a snack and enjoy it as you take in the concrete jungle. Every passenger we saw was also taking in the views, probably because we are all so accustomed to filing in and out of train cars underground. You can get your daily dose of vitamin D year-round on the NYC Ferry.

NYC Ferry upper deck

Remember, There are Rules

Most of the rules on the NYC Ferry are common sense, but things you should keep in mind. 

  1. Don’t run. Enjoy the experience and relax. The last thing you want to do it injure yourself trying to rush.
  2. Don’t leave your children unattended. This goes without saying, but be mindful of other passengers and the safety of your child by not leaving them alone.
  3.  Keep off stairwells and ranks during docking. You don’t want to get jostled around in case of a bumpy landing. 
  4. Read the digital displays and listen to announcements. Information regarding life jackets and service changes may be announced during your trip. It’s worth taking note of these things in case of an emergency.
  5. Ferry crew members are there to help you. If you aren’t feeling well or you just don’t know something, as a crew member. They will likely be able to get you the help or information you need. The crew that we have encountered have all been pleasant and willing to help. 
NYC Ferry docking Wall Street

We Didn't Expect to Love the NYC Ferry Experience

Honestly. We didn’t take the NYC Ferry expecting to enjoy it so much. Our hope is that everyone has as good of an time on the NYC Ferry as we have had so far. Other ferries provide a basic service, some at a markup price. 

The quality of service and experience we’ve had on our ferry rides has been exceptional. The service is only topped by the views of NYC that you enjoy as your are being taken along the local watereways. If you have considered taking a ferry in NYC or just didn’t know this cost-efficient option was available we would highly recommend taking a trip on the water with the NYC Ferry. 

The commute on the ferry also makes traveling with our stroller a breeze. This alone makes me consider taking the ferry over other modes of transportation.

Have you taken the NYC Ferry? What was your experience like?

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