If you ride the full length of the route as I did on early July morning - from DUMBO( acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) up to Midtown , you feel like you are on an attraction. You can see The Freedom Tower rising in the south, United Nations building to the north.
You'll pass under three bridges, each over 100 years old - Brooklyn bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. The views from the ferry are amazing! The price is $4 for a one way trip and $12 for an all-day pass.
Originally, all East River ferry boats were either row-boats or pirogues (small, light, flat-bottomed boats). In 1814, the Catherine Street Ferry became the first horse-boat ferry to cross the river. Horse-boats were twin boats connected by a wheel at the center, which horses would power by treadmill. At the same year Nassau of the Fulton Ferry Company became the first steamboat ferry on the East River. Although steamboats were much faster than horse-boats, they were more expensive to make.
In 1824 Supreme Court ordered an end to the Fulton and Livingston monopoly and the steamers became open to public competition.As the Brooklyn population quickly grew, transportation between Long Island and Manhattan became increasingly valuable. By the end of XIX century the Union Ferry Company of Brooklyn had 17 vessels and carried about 40,000 passengers annually. The vessels were really large with the biggest being over 651 tons, 180 ft., Those ships were so strong that the government chose to borrow seven of them during the Civil War. In 1883 there were twelve ferry routes using ten different ferry terminals in Brooklyn and eleven in Manhattan.
The famous American poet Walt Whitman wrote in a poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in 1900:
Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore;
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide;
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east;
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.
The free ferry from Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park to Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan was started just days after the terror attack, 9/11. This ferry was a blessing for commuters at this time- Brooklyn Army Terminal has a huge parking lot. This ferry was shut down in the spring of 2003, after the N and R subway lines have been restored.
The shuttle runs from 2:00pm – 8:00pm on weekdays and costs $5.00, And you can even get $5 back if you spend more than $10 in IKEA.
Now City and federal officials are looking now for funding from Washington to expand the East River Ferry, launched in 2011, and push a plan that would bring the waterway service to Astoria's developing Hallets Point peninsula and several other city neighborhoods.
New York city Ferry info is here
There is a ferry service between Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive on the Rockaway Peninsula (temporary landing was installed) and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, that destroyed Far Rockaway in October 2012. The price is on the weekday is only $2!
The service starts at 5:45 a.m. in the Rockaways with ferries departing for Manhattan regularly until 9:20 a.m.
Weekday ferry service will continue to operate on its current schedule through Labor Day weekend 2013.
There is a weekend beach service with more expensive fares: $30 roundtrip for adults.