Lincoln Harbor/Hoboken north/midtown loop Route
NY Waterway operates a system of ferries across the Hudson River between various towns in Hudson and Bergen Counties and three terminals in Manhattan. Established in 1986, running between Midtown and Port Imperial, Weehawken, but quickly expanded to serve lots of areas on the Hudson Waterfront. In addition to direct ferries and multiple-stop peak-only commuter routes, NY Waterway also operates two loop routes. This route is one of them (the other is here), with ferries running in a triangle formation from Midtown to Lincoln Harbor to Hoboken 14th, then back to Midtown. This review will cover the ride from Midtown to Hoboken 14th, via Lincoln Harbor
Having just biked to the ferry terminal from my house, and cutting my connection closer than I should have, I ran to the ticket machine, and paid the $9!! fare! Yes, $9! that is 2.5 times the cost of the bus, which is outrageous, but let's be honest, you're paying for the experience. Anyway, I ran out to slip 5, and saw my boat pulling in.
The ticket machine
A blurry shot of the interior
I boarded my boat, gave my ticket to the extremely nice deckhand, and then went up to the upper level. Funnily enough, I was not only the only person on the upper level, but also the only person on the WHOLE BOAT! We soon pulled away from the Midtown terminal, spun around, and headed across the Hudson.
My boat, Robert A. Roe.
The lower deck
We quickly gained speed, passing some iconic Midtown buildings. These ferries top out around 25-30 mph, which is one major advantage over the bus, which has to contend with Lincoln Tunnel traffic. So, I guess you're paying for the experience and the speed.
The upper deck
Midtown, from the ferry
Soon enough, we crossed the Hudson and pulled into Weehawken Cove, eventually stopping at the Lincoln Harbor dock. About 8 people got on here, and then we were off to Hoboken, heading around Weehawken Cove, getting some great views of Downtown Manhattan in the process.
The dock at Lincoln Harbor
Downtown Manhattan, from the ferry
We headed towards Hoboken, getting a nice view of the Hudson, the Upper Bay, and the Narrows. We eventually pulled into the dock, and I got off the boat. Hoboken 14th has a small enclosed waiting room with ticket machines and schedules, which is pictured at right.
The view of the Hudson and the Upper Bay
The waiting room at Hoboken 14th
The Robert A. Roe, ready to head back to Midtown
Route: Lincoln Harbor/Hoboken North/Midtown Loop Route
Ridership: 1763 riders per day, according to a 2014 study.
Pros: It is the fastest way to northern Hoboken and southern Weehawken, and it runs minimum 20 minute frequencies all day! The connection to the HBLR at Lincoln Harbor is also really useful. It's also just a really fun experience!
Cons: $9 for a ticket is STEEP. NY Waterway can get away with charging such a high price because most of their clientele are rather well-off (63% of customers made >$150K/yr and only 19% made under $100K/yr as of 2014), but also because you are paying for the experience and speed. You could take the NJT 126 for $3.50, but that is longer and slower, and is at the mercy of Lincoln Tunnel traffic. That being said, NY Waterway should really consider lowering its prices a bit, especially on their Edgewater route.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Hoboken is such an interesting city to explore, with so many mom-and-pop shops and cute cafés. Specifically, the Washington Street corridor reminds me of the West Village before its commercialization, and this ferry is, in my opinion, the best way to explore it. I also personally love biking down the extremely scenic waterfront of both Hoboken and Jersey City. Lincoln Harbor also seems like it has some cool stuff, but I've never explored it in-depth.
Final Verdict: 8.5/10
Look, I love this route, but I can't give it more than an 8.5 when it charges so much. NY Waterway, on the off-chance you see this, if you lower fares, I'm sure many, many, more people would ride, and I will instantly go into this page and change that 8.5 to a 10.