While many may think of Seattle as the capital of ferry boat riding, New York City also has an extensive ferry infrastructure carrying passengers between Kings, Queens and New York Counties, in addition to the close shore of New Jersey. Thousands of passengers rely on this service in order to successfully arrive at their vocations every day. Others view the ferry as a relatively inexpensive opportunity to peer at the New York Harbors while simultaneously taking in the sea breeze.

Most ferries in New York City are privately owned and operated. In fact, the one ferry monitored by the Department of Transportation is the Staten Island Ferry. This one form of DOT’s extensive transportation infrastructure is considered the most reliable, delivering passengers on-time 96% of the time. The ferry is free of charge, and offers spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty.

Last summer, the East River Ferry joined the ranks of other privately owned ferries and has managed to make quite an impact on ferry ridership. In order to create this route, the New York City Economic Development Corporation commissioned the Billy Bey Ferry Company (through New York Waterway) to run service for three years with a $9 million city backing. While critics of the ferry service were skeptical about its success, the launch of this service in 2011 has been described as quite the success. Servicing Long Island City, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, DUMBO, the east side of Manhattan and Governors Island, the East River Ferry has exceeded the expectations of New York Waterway. In order to compensate for increased ridership, New York Waterway now uses larger boats on the weekends.A new highlight of the East River Ferry this year is its partnership with Benchmarc Events, offering tasty treats 7 days a week.   Last summer Brooklyn Roasting Company earned the spotlight with their coffee and in order to further local Brooklyn eateries, a partnership with Benchmarc, McClure’s, was forged. The ferry currently features pastries, cupcakes,  egg creams, and specialty coffee, making the ride that much more enticing.

Ferryboats are often considered synonymous with a New York summer. Riding either to a new portion of the city, taking one to the Far Rockaway beach or even catching the ferry to a baseball game can make a summer afternoon even more memorable.

On game days:

And don’t forget about the Ikea Taxi operated by  NY Water Taxi!

Get in touch with the author @danielledowler.