New York City by Water

New York City by Water

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A Different View of NYC- One with a Splash!

New York City by Water


Let’s face it, if you want to visit the Statue of Liberty, climb the ground, and walk around the island, there’s only one way to do it. You have to get a ticket on board one of the statue cruise sailings from Battery Park in lower Manhattan, New York City Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. Depending on what time of year you want to visit you may need to book well in advance. But what can you do if you just want to get out on the water and view the New York City skyline or the Statue of liberty standing majestically on her pedestal out in the Hudson River and not pay the higher price associated with the full on park visit?

New York City by Water

One cheaper option for an inexpensive “harbor cruise” around NYC is offered by NY Waterways on the East River Ferry. For $4.00 on a weekday or $6.00 on a weekend you, you can hop aboard a ship and take the ferry up the East River under the bridges and up to midtown. Do this during sunset for some great skies color behind the skyline, eat dinner or have a drink in midtown and then return on the ferry for a fabulous view of the city at night.

New York City by Water

NY Waterways also offers several ferry options on the Hudson River Ferry system that will give you the city views from that side of town. You could take a ferry between Port Liberte, New Jersey and Pier 11 in lower Manhattan. This route takes you right past the Statue of Liberty but a round trip will end up costing more than the Statue Cruises run and you won’t be able to get off on the island. Still, if you weren’t able to book seats on the Statue Cruises ferry, this is one way to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty from the water.

New York City by Water

But wait, you say you want to get out on the water, seat the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline, but you don’t want to pay one cent for it? OK, now we’re talking my kind of travel. I have to warn you, this isn’t a pleasure cruise with free sundowner drinks rail-side; and this isn’t an insider secret. However, many visitors to the city don’t even think about the views to be had form this short ride across the bay at no more cost than what you’ve already given the city in sales taxes or parking tickets.

New York City by Water


What is this free cruise? The Staten Island Ferry, of course. For only the cost of the transportation to get to the ferry terminal you can take the 25 minute ride across the water and then return. If you wanted you could go back and forth all day, but I think I’d get sick and tired of fighting the crowds if I took the ferry for more than one there and back again trip. Our tip for riding the Staten Island Ferry is to be fairly close to the head of the queue then get on board quickly and get a good seat either on the starboard side for views of the Statue of Liberty or port for views of the Brooklyn bridge.

New York City by Water

Have you ever thought about traveling around the United States without driving?

Do you love water?  Wouldn’t you love to do the Big Apple this way?



4 thoughts on “New York City by Water

  1. rhonda albom says:

    As I started to read this I was thinking, “we took the Staten Island ferry for free and it was awesome.” I am glad this lead there, as it is a brilliant option – and it avoids the crowds on the island and the high costs. Unless you want to go up in the statue – then I guess you are stuck paying for the tourist experience. We opted to skip it (so I could have my overpriced carriage ride through central park).

    • Corinne Vail says:

      Rhonda, That is the trick, isn’t it? Pick and choose. I wasn’t going to walk up all those stairs. I loved seeing the statue from the water!

  2. Anabel says:

    I’ve not done the Harbor Cruise but we’ve taken the Staten Island ferry and I agree it’s fabulous! We also did the Liberty Island / Ellis Island trip in the days when you could still climb up inside the statue (not sure you can do that now post 9/11?) That was great for a once-only experience and I’m happy to stick to the ferry if we ever go back.

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