New York City from the Water

“I know this sounds touristy, but I’d just love to go on one of those five-hour-boat-rides around Manhattan.” The first episode of Seinfeld calls it out….

Tourists and tour buses, walking tours, and tour cruises are synonymous with New York City.

Noah often asks if he’s a wild zoo animal from the way the people in the double-decker buses gawk and take photos.

“Look! There’s one! It’s great to see them in their natural habitat! I have to take a picture!”

However, seeing Manhattan from the water still calls to me. And, it calls to a lot of New Yorkers who make their way out onto the Hudson and East Rivers.

Five hour tour around Manhattan…tourist…

Jazz brunch with mimosas…local…

As a tourist, you may want the traditional tour where highlights are pointed out and history is told.

But, you may also just want to enjoy the city the way the locals would.

Today, I’m reviewing all the ways that we’ve learned about (so far) to enjoy the city from the water.

NYC Ferry

I am in love with the ferry options around New York. There are five different options (and counting!) depending on where you want to go. With views, a cash bar, and low-costs, it’s the best public transportation option in the city – prove me wrong.

  • NYC Ferry by Hornblower – connecting Manhattan to Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, NYC Ferry offers an abundance of routes, and includes a transfer – all for $2.75. We love to take this line from Midtown Manhattan to Long Island City, Wall Street, Dumbo, Red Hook, and even Rockaway Beach! This is also my preferred way to get to work downtown.
  • Staten Island Ferry – FREE! The Staten Island Ferry is the OG. No frills, big and orange – this ferry serves one route to tourists and locals alike – Staten Island to downtown Manhattan. It runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It’s best to avoid rush hour, but other than that, it’s a free way to get up-close-and-personal with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
  • Governor’s Island Ferry – $3 roundtrip gets you a ferry excursion and access to Governor’s Island park. More information on the park here!
  • Seastreak Ferry Service – Seastreak offers the fastest and largest ferries in the New York waters. They go the furthest and are the most expensive. However, from Midtown, these ferries will transport you to Sandy Hook (Jersey Shore), Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Providence, and even whale watching!
  • NY Waterways – Interested in exploring western Manhattan, the Hudson River, and New Jersey? NY Waterways is the ferry service that services both New Jersey and West Manhattan!

Circle Line

The OG tourist line. Circle Line cruises would’ve been the reference in Seinfeld. A tour guide speaks over a loud speaker to tell you about what you’re seeing and provides stories and history to go along with it. Crowded – yes. Touristy – yes. Fun to do once? Yeah!

Along with the traditional Circle Line Cruises, you can also find the North River Lobster Co. and, if you’re up for a thrill, the 60-mph “Beast” in the Circle Line Network.

Statue Line Cruises’ fleet in New York City.

Statue of Liberty Cruises

Almost all of the boats will take you by the Statue of Liberty – and the experience will be fun! But, if you want to go to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and actually stand on the islands, there’s only one way to get there. Park passes and info available here.


If you’d like to power your way around the Hudson River using some over-consumed calories, Stand-Up Paddle-boards and kayaks are FREE in several places throughout the city.

Alternatively, during the summer months, jet skis are available to rent (and speed boats!) and offer a really exhilarating way to explore the waters around the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, and Battery Park.

Clipper City Tall Ship

If you’d like to learn what it would’ve been like to sail into the New York Harbor in the 1790s, Clipper City offers that excursion. Sailing from downtown to around the Statue of Liberty and back, the Tall Ship is a fun way to explore history, the city, and get involved in the sailing process – all hands on deck!

Classic Harbor Line

We’ve saved our favorite for last. The boats, the excursions, and the crew on the Classic Harbor Line always offer us and our guests a relaxed, fun, and memorable experience. We’ve sailed with them for jazz sails, Fourth of July, sunset sails, history sails, and fall foliage. We’re never disappointed in our time spent on the water with the Classic Harbor Line.

Have you explored the city by water? Which trip did you enjoy the most? Let us know!

More Posts About New York

Should I Come to New York in 2021?

So, we’re back on the fence for this again due to the variants and upcoming flu-season. I’ll keep you posted as things change. For now, if you’re coming, make sure to bring your proof of vaccination! This will be REQUIRED for most places you will want visit. 

***UPDATE*** On May 17th the MTA Subway System resumed 24/7 service!

***UPADTE***On August 16th restaurants, attractions, and venues will REQUIRE proof of vaccination. They will accept your vaccination card, a photo of the front and back of your vaccination card, or a QR code from your state’s vaccination app – like the New York Excelsior Pass. 

***UPDATE*** On September 14th Broadway will be allowed to re-open at 100% capacity. The shows scheduled to resume in September are The Lion King, Wicked, and Ain’t Too Proud. 

As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!


Majhon and Noah

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