This post is about the East River ferry service (run by NYC Ferry) and includes information about tickets, schedules, routes and what there is to see at each stop. Using the ferry as an alternative way to get from one destination to another has many advantages: it is faster than the subway in most cases, it is certainly a much more pleasant ride than the subway, and you get a great view including Lower Manhattan, the Freedom Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge (in fact you ride right under it), the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and a lot more.
The ferries sell snacks, have restrooms, and even offer free wi-fi so you can research your plans for when you step back onto dry land. And believe it or not, it is the same price as the subway – just $2.75! This is the cheapest boat ride in NYC – except for the free Staten Island Ferry, which is a New York City must-do!
The East River Ferry actually has three routes running as of June 2017, one between Wall Street and East 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan, between Wall Street and South Brooklyn and Wall Street to the Rockaways (in Queens). Even more routes are expected to begin in late 2017-2018 including a route to the Lower East Side, one of our favorite neighborhoods! If you love good food, you might want to join us on our pay-what-you-like Lower East Side food tour.
NYC FERRY TICKETS
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.
Ticket Price (as of 2017)
Adult One-Way Pass $2.75
Children: up to two children under the height of 44 inches can ride for 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
Once your one-way ticket is activated, it is valid for up to 90 minutes. However, this doesn’t mean you can do a round-trip with one ticket. You must disembark at the end of the line. If you want to go back from where you started you must buy another ticket.
Note: 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 use another ticket. If you are curious about hop-on, hop off ferries, you may find they are a fun and affordable way to explore different parts of the city. 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.
How to buy tickets:
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.
The ferry route runs between two hubs: Wall Street/Pier 11 and East 34th St. The ferry schedule is approximately:
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.
Keep in mind that the ferry service’s primary function is as a commuter ferry – something much needed in New York City for a long time. The ferry is very popular with commuters which means crowded boats and long lines at “rush hour”– the times when most commuters come and go. We recommend that for a more leisurely voyage that you avoid taking the ferry before 10 am or after 4 pm.
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.
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 it 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.
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.
Not quite yet a tourist destination but you will find a lovely green space with stunning skyline views
You can also walk over to Transmitter Brewing , an up and coming local brewery known for its unusual and excellent craft beers. It’s located in an 1,800-square-foot NYC garage but the beers are anything but industrial tasting. If you like to imbibe, see our several other posts:
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.
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)
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!
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 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.
Like the Ramones sang, “Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach”. People do actually live in the Rockaways. But for visitors to the city, the ferry to Rockaway offers a great way to get out to one of the nicest beaches in New York City. This recently updated beach has clean bathrooms, white sand, and a fun vibe. Be a real “New Yawka” and get out to Rockaway! For beach bums, we have quite a few nice ones in NYC. Our post, New York City Beaches, will help you find them.
Coming in 2017 – ASTORIA ! Coming in 2018 – LOWER EAST SIDE!