Rockaway for me, like most of you, is filled with my big family, lifelong friends, tight knit community, and always feels like home. However, since moving to Manhattan for college over a decade ago, the city, along with its 1.63 million strangers, dynamic cultures, crowded subways, and skyscrapers, has come to feel like home, too. Sometimes, (particularly on Sundays in the summer when you’re peeling yourself off the beach) Rockaway can feel like a world away from The Upper East Side, where I live. The journey can feel daunting, but once you’ve made it onto the NYC Ferry and the skyline gets closer, the hour flies by and I am reminded just how close the two are.
A few weeks ago, my friends took the ferry into the city from Rockaway to meet for brunch at Malibu Farm, a SoCal-style restaurant located on Pier 17. It was their first time there, and with its convenience to Pier 11, we wondered how many other people had taken the ferry into Manhattan but had not really ventured around the area. Thus, “A Ferry Good Time” was born. From Pier 11, you can easily get to historic New York City sites like Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, and 9/11 Memorial – things you already know about and have likely already seen. “A Ferry Good Time” hopes to provide you with a monthly roundup of unique things to do, places to go, and new sights to see.
So, we’ll start where the idea began, Pier 17. Pier 17 plays a pivotal role in the history of Downtown Manhattan. Known as the “Street of Ships,” it was NYC’s biggest hub for international shipping, maritime activities, and the wholesale fish trade. After many transformations, the newest iteration of the pier provides a perfect reason to make the trip into the city.
Now through February 12, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy prix-fixe lunch or dinner menus from restaurants across the five boroughs ranging from $30- $60 per dinner. On Pier 17, Malibu Farm, The Fulton, and Carne Mare are all participating. Not interested in a three course meal? The Tin Building, formerly the Fulton Street Fish Market, has been reimagined by restaurateur Jean-Georges, and transformed into a European inspired marketplace, filled with a variety of counters, kiosks, stalls, retail, and traditional sit-down restaurants. After you’ve eaten, walk over to Seaport Square and Skate the Skyline. Ice-skate under an overhead light installation, “Aurora,” inspired by the Northern Lights. Rink admission is free if you bring your own skates, skate rentals start at $23.
If you’ve got your sea legs, Governors Island has recently made itself a year-round destination and is a 10-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan. From December through February, the island hosts a Winter Village with winter themed lawn games, sled and bike rentals, twinkling lights, fire pits, and a 7,500-square-foot skating rink. Governors Island also boasts an outdoor panoramic spa, QC NY. It is a full wellness experience. Guests can spend the day enjoying infrared beds, themed saunas and steam rooms, in addition to massage treatments and their famous sunset aperitivo. You can get a Governors Island bound ferry from the Battery Maritime Building, located at 10 South Street. Tickets are $4 for Adults and free for Seniors over 65 and Children under 12.
Don’t let the winter temperatures deter you, adventure awaits- just a ferry ride away!