Skip to main content

On a Water Taxi, a View of New York’s Ebb and Flow

With the recent spring weather in New York and temperatures warmer than average, residents and visitors alike have been heading to the parks and piers along the shoreline. The visitors have also been boarding the city’s boats for exceptional views of city attractions and the skyline from the water.

Passengers on a New York Water Taxi nearing the Brooklyn Bridge

New York Water Taxi is a business that runs specialty trips for visitors as well as the IKEA Express popular with many locals. Their water taxis are painted yellow and black-and-white checkerboard just like the street version. An all-day access pass allows sightseers to spend the day galavanting around various parts of Midtown, Lower Manhattan, and the Brooklyn waterfront, stepping off and on the taxis when so desired at a sequence of piers.

The taxis depart at staggered times from Pier 79 and W. 39th Street and continue to the World Financial Center, Pier 11 at Wall Street (Slip A), Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO), and finally the Red Hook Dock at the end of Van Brunt Street. If you go, get an early start to see everything, and try not to miss the last boat back from Red Hook if you have dinner reservations in Manhattan.

Boarding a New York Water Taxi at Pier 79 on the west side near W. 39th Street.

The excursion from the Water Taxi’s dock on Manhattan’s West Side to Red Hook in Brooklyn is entertainingly narrated along the way, beginning with the story of Captain Sully’s 2009 miraculous water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. The guide pointed out the important role of the sightseeing boats in the rapid response to the near disaster. Additional stories include how Battery Park was built and what gives DUMBO its name.

The Hudson Yard development frames the Empire State Building in the distance.

Residents of the city may know many of these stories told along the way, but even for the know-it-alls the boat trip offers new perspectives on the city’s rapidly changing skyline.

After Hudson Yards, the Chelsea waterfront comes into the picture.

As soon as the taxi heads down the river, the Hudson Yards development comes into view. A feel for the massive scale of the emerging mixed-use West Side project, the largest in the city since Rockefeller Center, can be sensed here from the middle of the river. Eventually, Hudson Yards will look and feel like a mini-skyscraper city planted just west of the old one. Walking the northern section of the High Line can provide a better view close up, but boating at a distance can drown out the incessant sounds of jackhammers.

A visitor takes a snapshot of Lower Manhattan and the Battery Park Promenade.

In addition to Hudson Yards, look landward for continued construction at the WTC site, the South Street Seaport, and work on the Brooklyn piers. Arriving at the waterfront Red Hook neighborhood, you may want to get off the water taxi and wander around the shops, restaurants, galleries, and the Waterfront Museum. Or have a seat and gaze at the statue in the harbor.

Docking at Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park (DUMBO)

Beginning this summer, the new citywide ferry (website) will be stopping in Red Hook, too. And Red Hook will then be a stop on the way south to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and then on to Bay Ridge. And then back to the shores of old Manhattan. A separate city ferry route will link the Brooklyn Army Terminal with Rockaway. The skyline, by then, will grow very small.

A moment in the sun on the Red Hook waterfront, with a red umbrella.

 Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Saturday, April 8, 2017.

See the New York Water Taxi website for schedules and fares.

Popular posts from this blog

From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan

(revised 2017) How long does it take to walk from Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to well-known destinations in Manhattan? What are the best walking routes ? What if I don't want to see anything in particular but just want to walk around? In addition to the thousands of working commuters from the surrounding area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island who arrive at Penn Station via New Jersey Transit or the Long Island Rail Road, many people arrive at the station just to spend time in The City. Some have questions. Furthermore, a sporting event may have brought you to Madison Square Garden (above Penn Station), and you want to check out what the city offers near the event. This post if for you.  The map below should help you measure walking distances and times from the station to well-known destinations in Manhattan - Bryant Park , the Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Empire State Building , Times Square , Rockefeller Center , Washington Square Park , the High Line

Taking a Constitutional Walk

A long time ago individuals going out for a walk, especially to get fresh air and exercise, often referred to the activity as "taking a constitutional walk." The word "constitutional" refers to one's constitution or physical makeup, so a constitutional walk was considered beneficial to one's overall wellbeing. (Or, as some would prefer to call it, "wellness.") The phrase is more common in British literature than in American letters. As early as the mid-nineteenth century, many American commentators expressed concern that their countrymen were falling into lazy and unhealthy habits. Newspaper columnists and editorial writers urged their readers to take up the practice of the "constitutional" walk. One such essay, " Walking as an Exercise," originally printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted in New England Farmer , Volume 11, 1859, urges the people of farm areas to take up walking. City dwellers seemed to have the

10 Short Walks from Grand Central Terminal

(updated March 2017) Famously crowded Grand Central Terminal functions as a major crossroads for the city, hosting busy commuters as they come and go from the suburbs via the Metro-North Railroad or within the city via a few subway lines, but the terminal also happens to be a good place to launch short walks. With its south side fronting E. 42nd Street and its massive structure interrupting Park Avenue, Grand Central provides quick access to many of the city's most well-known attractions. The New York Public Library and Bryant Park are only a couple of blocks away from the terminal, a quick jaunt on 42nd Street. And from there, Times Square is just another block or two farther west of the library, its neon shimmering in the distance. One wonders, standing near the intersection of 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, how many souls have been lured away from their well-meaning library studies by the beckoning lights of the Theater District. Grand Central Terminal : Before setting

25 Things To Do Near the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

(updated 2016) The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) at 11 W. 53rd Street is near many other New York City attractions, so before or after a trip to the museum, a short walk in any direction could easily take in additional experiences. Drawing a square on a map with the museum at the center, a shape bounded by 58th Street to the north and 48th Street to the south, with 7th Avenue to the west and Park Avenue to the east, proves the point of the area's cultural richness. (A map follows the list below.) While well-known sightseeing stops fall with these boundaries, most notably Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the great swath of famous Fifth Avenue stores, cultural visitors may also want to check out places such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, the 57th Street galleries, the Onassis Cultural Center, and the Municipal Art Society. The image above shows an intriguing glimpse of the tops of two Beaux-Arts buildings through an opening of the wall inside MoMA's scu

Museums in New York Open on Mondays

Please see this post for current announcements of reopenings . Please consult the museum websites for changes in days and hours. UPDATED September 23, 2020 Advance tickets required for many museum reopenings. Please check museum websites for details. • The  Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  reopened to the public on  August 27 , with new hours for the first month, through September 27: from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to the public; and from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  on Mondays for MoMA members on ly. Admission will be free to all visitors Tuesday through Sunday, through September 27, made possible by UNIQLO. See this  new post on WOTBA for a sense of the experience attending the museum . •  New-York Historical Society  reopened on  August 14  with an outdoor exhibition, "Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine,” in the rear courtyard. The exhibit by activist Kevin Powell and photographer Kay Hickman will highlight how New Yorkers weathered the quarantine

Dyckman

The meaning of “Dyckman” has come to stand for much more than the Northern Manhattan street after which it is named. When called out, “Dyckman” often stands for the pride of place for many of the Dominican residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Sometimes, narrowly, Dyckman refers to the vibrant nightlife along the street, especially west of Broadway. Before the current public health crisis, residents and visitors alike packed the popular restaurants on the street, especially in milder weather, for its outdoor cafe scene. In the summertime, this strip of Dyckman Street feels like New York’s answer to Miami Beach.    View of Dyckman Street sign with Fort Tryon Park and The Met Cloisters in the background. Dyckman Street, essentially 200th Street in numerals, traverses the top of Manhattan from the northwest to the southeast, from the Hudson River on the west and on past Broadway to the Harlem River on the east side. Named after Dutch farmer William Dyckman whose farmhouse still stand

25 Things to Do Near the American Museum of Natural History

After visiting the American Museum of Natural History, explore attractions on the Upper West Side or in Central Park. Visitors to New York often run around from one major tourist site to the next, sometimes from one side of the city to the other, and in the process, exhaust themselves thoroughly. Ambitious itineraries often include something like coffee in the Village in the morning, lunch near MoMA, a couple of hours in the museum, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry in the afternoon, cocktails at the midtown hotel, a quick dinner, and then a Broadway show. It's a wonder people don't pass out at the theater. While sitting on the steps of the American Museum of History, consider exploring the Upper West Side and nearby sites of interest in Central Park. There's a better way to plan a New York trip. Consider grouping attractions together geographically. Several posts on this site address this recommended approach. The Wild West of the Tecumseh Playground Groupin

E. B. White and the New York of Stuart Little

(updated July 31, 2017) Of the many books that give young people their first and almost always glamorous introduction to New York City, one of the most loved is E. B. White's Stuart Little , published in 1945. Yet, while Hollywood made a n enchanting film of the classic in 1999, one that further glamorized the city adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Little's proper little mouse boy, the original tale is a curious story that breaks several conventions. For starters, in White's book, unlike in the movie where the Littles find him in an orphanage, Stuart is the Little's biological child (!), albeit an unusual one. He looks like a mouse, can walk within weeks after he's born, and he never gets taller than a fraction over two inches. In modern parlance we might describe Stuart as "a special needs child." He requires necessary adjustments in his domestic arrangement so he can climb up to the bathroom sink to brush his teeth. The largest problem is

A New York Spring Calendar: Blooming Times and Seasonal Events

See the UPDATED 2018 CALENDAR HERE . Updated for 2017 . At this time of year, thoughts turn to spring. Let's spring forward to blooming times, the best locations for witnessing spring's beginnings, and springtime events in the big city. While the occasional snow could blow through the city, we're just weeks now from callery pears in bloom and opening day at the ballpark. In The Ramble, Central Park. mid-April Blooming Times •  Central Park Conservancy's website  lists blooming times within the park. During the month of March we begin to see crocus, daffodils, forsythia, snowdrops, witch-hazel, and hellebores. Species tulips will emerge in several places, but the Shakespeare Garden and Conservatory Garden are particularly good places to catch the beginning of Spring blooms. Central Park near E. 72nd St., saucer magnolia, typically end of March. •  Citywide Blooming Calendar from New York City Department of Parks & Recreation April is u

25 Things to Do Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art

(updated) Sitting on the steps in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of those iconic things to do in New York City. On a sunny day, the wide steps can become crowded with the young and old, the tourist and the resident. It's tempting to stay awhile and soak in the sun and the sights. Everyone has reasons for lingering there, with one being the shared pleasure of people watching along this expansive stretch of Fifth Avenue, a painting come to life. Certainly, just getting off one's feet for a moment is welcome, especially if the previous hours involved walking through the entirety of art history from prehistoric to the contemporary. The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue The Metropolitan Museum of Art should be a singular pilgrimage, uninterrupted by feeble attempts to take in more exhibitions along Museum Mile. Pity the poor visitor who tries "to do" multiple museum exhibitions in one day, albeit ambitious, noble, and uplift