Next month it’ll be 408 years since Henry Hudson’s fateful trip up the river, and it seems New Yorkers are finally rediscovering the thrill of boat travel. Earlier this year, the NYC Ferry hit the waters, and now even LaGuardia Airport is due to get high-speed water taxis. Meanwhile, all sorts of waterfront attractions– from barge bars to rooftop bars overlooking whirlpools— are cropping up, though it may be a while before we see that floating pool.
Last night, I joined some fellow ferry fanatics to experience what might become an increasingly routine thing, especially once service expands to the Lower East Side next summer. We hopped from ferry to schooner to ferry to schooner, practically without having to put down our beers.
Here’s how it happened.
Ferry from Pier 11 to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6
A CitiBike ride brought me to Pier 11, where I grabbed a tallboy at the concession stand and boarded the NYC Ferry to Atlantic Avenue. Sure, I could’ve waited until I was on the boat to buy beer, but the trip across the river is so lightning-fast that it’s best to start getting your drink on while in line at the pier. You think you can slam a glass of draft wine during that seven-minute crossing? No way, rosé! Luckily, as you can see above, they sell Party Pouches at the bar– so you can take that shiz to go.
Pilot at Brooklyn Bridge Park
From the ferry landing, we were within an anchor’s throw of Pilot, the new schooner bar from the Grand Banks folks. Since B+B brought news of its opening last week, Instagram photos have shown the 93-year-old sailboat every bit as packed as its crazy-popular Manhattan sibling, but it was blessedly half-full when we climbed aboard. If you’re prone to seasickness, note that this boat rocks a bit more than Grand Banks, since it’s right in the ferry’s wake.
Ferry from Pier 6 to Red Hook
At 8:30pm, we got back on the ferry and motored south down to Red Hook, where Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai was showing on the waterfront, as part of Red Hook Flicks. Never mind that– we had another boat to catch.
The Clipper City
The Clipper City is a 158-foot schooner that normally does touristy wine, jazz, and sunset sails out of Battery Park. But every once in a while 79.5, a Brooklyn-based psych/disco/boogie outfit, commandeers it for a floating, late-night dance party that leaves out of Red Hook. You’re going to want to follow these guys and gals on Facebook right now, in part because their album drops next month– but also because their soirees are a sea change from the usual booze cruise.
While the band’s singers lay some soulful harmonies over a snappy beat, the boat gets so close to the Statue of Liberty that, if you were a member of the Trump administration, you could deface that pesky poem. When the sax player leans back, it feels a little like you’re on that sailboat in the “Careless Whisper” video. Which is just what you want on a perfect August night.
Many Dark and Stormies later, we returned to the shores of Brooklyn, where the boat-hopping sadly had to come to an end. It was shortly after midnight and the last ferry back to the city was at 9:22pm– otherwise we might’ve sailed on and taken yet another vessel to, say, Brooklyn Barge. While the ferry costs the same as the subway, it doesn’t run nearly as late– which is pretty lame, if you ask me. But, hey, it’s only a matter of time before we get UberBoat.