Following a ceremonial ride yesterday with Mayor Bill de Blasio (watch our live feed of the trip here), the NYC Ferry launched officially this morning at 5:30 AM. The initial launch will cover two routes: Rockaways – Sunset Park – Wall Street, and East River, folding in the East River Ferry service into the new NYC Ferry and adding in a Governors Island stop in the summer. The whole system is operated by Hornblower.

This August, a route from Astoria to Wall Street will launch, stopping by Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and East 34th Street, along with one from Bay Ridge to Wall Street, stopping by Sunset Park, Red Hook, Governors Island in the summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo). Next summer, the route from Wall Street to the Bronx will be ready along with a Lower East Side route from Long Island City to Wall Street stopping at East 34th Street, Stuyvesant Town and Corlears Hook.

Here are 10 fun facts we’ve learned from our in-person coverage of the evolution of the NYC Ferry:

1. The NYC Ferry Vessels Are Made From Aluminum

Citywide Ferry Vessel under construction at Metal Shark in Louisiana. Image courtesy NYC Ferry

The NYC Ferry fleet will feature nineteen 86-foot long aluminum vessels that can carry 149 passengers each – 128 inside, 28 in open air atop. The entire mass of aluminum used for the vessels would be equivalent to 77 million cans, although the boats are designed to be lightweight and efficient.

The vessels were constructed at Horizon Shipyard in Alabama and at Metal Shark in Louisiana, and sailed across the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, and up the Atlantic Ocean to get to New York City, where they got their final touches and Coast Guard inspection at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We got a sneak peek of the vessels before that inspection and took photographs and video for Untapped Cities readers.

2. The NYC Ferry Vessels are Technologically Advanced – Inside and Outside

The NYC Ferry vessels feature heated decks and Wi-Fi accessibility, as well as an innovative, ultra-efficient T3 engines to reduce emissions and unique hull design to maximize fuel efficiency and limit wakes. There are also chargers throughout the main cabin so you can work on the ride. While all 19 vessels may look the same, three of them underneath will “rock” more powerful engines on the Rockaway route since the water into and out of Jamaica Bay is a bit rougher.

3. The Stylish Concession Stand Serves Beer, Wine and Prosecco on Tap

The New Stand is the concession partner for NYC Ferry, offering a stylish and modern outpost that’s full of amenities. There’s beer, wine and prosecco on tap serving local fare like Brooklyn Brewery beer, Joe’s Coffee cold brew, and Finger Lakes riesling wine. There are pastries from Brooklyn’s Bien Cuit and a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.

And, there are all the accessories you might possibly need including sunblock, chargers, phone cases, cocktail kits, headphones, children’s books, stationery, water bottles and more. The founders call The New Stand “one part curated convenience store and one part mobile media machine. It’s kind of like your favorite bodega and favorite blog had a baby.”

4. There are Bike Racks, and Surfboard Racks too

As part of the design, there are bike racks on the boats (and on the Rockaway ferry, surfboard racks!). There’s a $1.00 surcharge for bikes, but if they are foldable you can bring them on for free.

5. Ride NYC Ferry for the Price of a Subway Ride and Get Free Transfers Between Ferry Routes

The price for the NYC Ferry is the same as a subway ride – $2.75 – and you get free transfers between ferry routes (within 90 minutes). Once both phases of Citywide Ferry launch, riders will be able to sail from the Soundview section of the Bronx to the Rockaways for just $2.75. Kids under 44 inches tall can ride for free when with an adult and stroller parking is available on board.

You can also buy a monthly pass, $121 for 30 days or $141 with a bike. 50% reduced fares on 30-day passes are offered for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

6. You Can Buy Your NYC Ferry Tickets Online or Through An App

You can go old school and buy your tickets from vending machines available at all the landings, buy tickets online, or you can use the NYC Ferry App. Through the app, you can store tickets and activate them when you want, within a year of purchasing. You can also view a route map and plan a trip

7. The New NYC Ferry Landings Are Also Unique

The construction and engineering firm Skanska, who is also involved in the complicated underground work at the New York Wheel on Staten Island and with the Second Avenue Subway, is the construction manager for the ferry landing project. Passengers will wait on a 90 foot by 35 foot barge with canopies and wind screens, which will provide protection from the weather and reduce the impact that the landings could have on the land side in terms of built structures and queueing.

The marine coated steel barges, which are built at Mayship on Staten Island, will be connected by an ADA accessible aluminum gangway to land. On the barge, travelers will have information about the schedule and access to ticket machines. In total, there will be 10 new ferry landings installed.

8. The NYC Ferry Route Covers 60 Miles of Waterway

2017 Ferry Routes

All ferry routes combined, when the NYC Ferry system is fully launched, will cover over 60 miles of waterway at over 21 landings across Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx by the end of 2018. Some new stops include Governors Island in the summer, Sunset Park at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bay Ridge, Astoria, and Soundview in the Bronx.

9. NYC Ferry Captains Train in Simulators

As we learned in our advance preview of the NYC Ferry vessels, the ferry captains train using state of the art simulators that are located in a few facilities in New York City. And we know how the city’s ferry captains have been trained historically, in the numerous times the city was rescued by ferries.

10. The NYC Ferry Vessels Were Named by 2nd Graders

The names for the NYC Ferry were christened by second graders in the New York City school system, who live near one of the ferry stops. Among the vessels in operation include “Lunch Box,” “Shiny,” and “Urban Journey,” which was the boat that made the ceremonial ride yesterday.

Get out on the water with the NYC Ferry today!

Next, check out 10 Historical Secrets of the Waterfront That Will be Unlocked with the NYC Ferry.

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