I had heard about the new New York City ferries and with a perfectly clear and only warm day (no blast of heat), friends and I decided to take advantage of what is the cheapest “cruise boat” ride going. Okay, you’re not going to hear anyone call out the sights, but for the price of $2.75, the same as a bus or subway, who cares? This is the first of many articles on this new NYC treasure!
We drove to the Rockaway landing located at Beach 108. There is a parking lot that charges $8 for the whole day, or you can park on the street. Most of the commuters are in the lots as they are traveling from this spot to Wall St. The ferry first stops at Sunset Park in Brooklyn in case you work around that area and there is a free transfer if you want to continue to Wall St.
Personally, I was seeking what one could do on off-hours. The four of us boarded the Lunch Box ferry (They were all named and that’s another story) for the 2:15 pm ride. You can sit downstairs or upstairs, although there are not many seats at the top. If you can’t climb stairs, stay on the enclosed main level.
At present there is a food and drink service area. They were serving snacks and beverages including wine and beer. If that’s not what you want to have during your trip, then bring your own.
I’m not familiar with the Sunset Park area, but will do so. There is another free transfer location to Red Hook as well. I’m going to look into that one.
The NYC Ferry is owned by Hornblower Cruises with a location at South Street Seaport. It is around 6 blocks from the landing. We did not take advantage of touring the seaport but waited for the next ferry to go back. It takes one hour each way from Rockaway to Wall Street.
Although we drove from the Woodhaven area, an alternative for those living in the Rockaways is a free shuttle bus that has several stops both East and West of the dock.
We decided to have an early dinner at Thai Rock, located at Beach 92nd as I was celebrating my birthday. Robert and Metta Haskell are the proud owners. Rob told me that it is quite walkable from the dock via one of the schools in the area, in case you don’t have a car. I love the food and my relative was being introduced to Thai cuisine.
Having gone here and writing about this restaurant prior, I decided to taste some foods that I hadn’t delved into beginning with the Chicken Satay. It was not overly seasoned and came with an excellent peanut sauce thanks to the head chef, Metta’s sister.
Not everyone can make the perfect duck. Rob told me that they cook it twice. The second time delivers the crispiness of the skin resulting in having most of the fat cooked out but still maintaining both the juiciness and crunch.
There are a number of styles and sauces to choose from. I do not like spicy food, although I find their Massaman Curry quite delicious enough to tolerate the “kick.” The curry is made with potato, red onion, peanuts and bay leaves in a dried chili coconut sauce.
My relative ordered the Pad Thai with shrimp: stir-fried rice noodles, eggs, bean sprouts, scallion, black tofu and peanuts with sweet fish sauce. “Yummy” was the reaction.
A candle was placed atop the Sweet Roti, thin fried bread rolled with sweetened condensed milk and sugar and sliced. Looked like a flat sweet pizza and tasted divine.
Best drink to order (if you don’t want alcohol) is the fresh honey-ginger tea. I requested it “iced.” Most refreshing!
Is the NYC Ferry the best “invention” since sliced bread? Here are some ideas about food and places to visit (for now). On your way to the ferry via Cross Bay Blvd, stop at Cross Bay Sea Shell Fish Market for some steamed goodies to bring onto the boat. I am talking about lobster and shrimp (You can purchase the cocktail sauce there, too). You have to call in advance: 718-835-2987.
Refreshments are available on the ferry or bring your own. Just in case you didn’t get the info….the ferry costs $2.75 one way with lots of connections.
Don’t always expect to board “the next ferry” as crowds of travelers have heard much about this inexpensive and easy way to get around the city. The original idea of this ferry was an alternative for commuters to get to work and alleviate both time and packed trains and buses. If you have to wait for another boat, then rather than complain take Mass Transit. If the amount of people on line at a movie filled to the capacity, you would have to wait for next one. But then again, these are probably the same folks that honk their horns as soon as the light turns green.
It takes about an hour to get to Wall Street where the South Street Seaport is just blocks away. Explore the seaport and especially the museum where there is a new exhibition entitled Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914, opening June 23 and running through January 7, 2018. It is one of the first exhibitions to examine, side-by-side, the dichotomy between First Class and Third Class passengers aboard ocean liners in the early 20th century.
Ships such as Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania, and Imperator transported thousands of people as First-Class passengers luxuriously sailed across the Atlantic while Third-Class passengers made the voyage in the stuffy lower decks.
According to information given to me, “From 1900 to 1914, nearly 13 million immigrants traveling in Third Class arrived in the United States. During this same period, America's wealthiest citizens, totaling no more than a hundred thousand passengers each year, traveled to Europe in First Class, spending over $11.5 billion (2017) on luxury vacations. Even though First Class and Third Class sailed on the same ships, their journeys were worlds apart.”
“This exhibition will feature both original and reproduced artifacts from the South Street Seaport Museum's permanent collection including ocean liner memorabilia and ephemera, ceramics, and luggage trunks from both immigrants and First Class passengers. The exhibition will highlight a few ship models of New York Harbor working vessels that played critical roles in immigration, including a model of the Museum's lightship Ambrose (LV-87).”
“Ambrose , a floating lighthouse, stood watch at the front door to New York Harbor during the greatest period of immigration in US history. Her official duty was to mark the entrance to the Ambrose Channel, a deep channel dredged between 1900 and 1907 to allow larger ocean liners, the largest of which had doubled in size in those same years, safe access into the harbor. But Ambrose had another vital role; her light was the first thing an immigrant would see as they entered New York Harbor, long before the buildings and piers on the waterfront, long before the Manhattan skyline, and long before the lighted torch of the Statue of Liberty.”
“Evoking the spirit of First-Class grandeur, a piece of wood paneling that once adorned the interior of the Smoking Room of the RMS Mauretania will be recreated by master woodcarver Deborah Mills throughout the run of the show. This work-in-progress will be on view in the exhibition space during regular hours Thursday through Sunday. Each Wednesday visitors can visit the Museum's Maritime Craft Center at 209 Water Street and watch as the artist brings the piece closer to the original. Throughout the exhibition, there will be screenings of films which feature ocean liners and immigrants in their critical roles in New York Harbor life at a time when this city was the busiest port in the world.”
The exhibition is included with Museum admission: South Street Seaport Museum members: FREE, $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $6 for children ages 2 - 17. Tickets can be purchased online at www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org or in person at 12 Fulton St.
Hornblower is the company that has provided the ferry boats. They are located at dock #15, where you can purchase tix to a boat tour. www.hornblowernewyorkcity.com
The Rubin Museum of Art is not in walking distance but still considered “downtown” with its location at 150 W. 20th Street. They are having a new exhibit that’s all about music, entitled The World Is Sound. Here is what it says: “Learn to listen with your whole body. Visitors will explore how sound and our sense of hearing shape our daily lives, our traditions, our history, and all of existence. The World Is Sound employs sound in new ways to animate and intensify the experience of art in the Rubin’s collection.”
Take in a free concert at the base of the spiral staircase on Wednesday, July 5 from 6 to 9 pm as Yael Acher-Modiano performs her flute-solos. According with info on the site, “A native of Tel Aviv, Yael graduated with a BA in Classical Flute from the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. After living in Copenhagen for a decade, she moved to New York City as a Fulbright Scholar to study composition at NYU in 2005. She has resided in New York City ever since. She works in contemporary, classical, free, meditation, electro-acoustic, jazz, and hip-hop music as a soloist, with chamber groups, and as leader of her progressive jazz band “Kat” Modiano Quartet. Acher-Modiano also collaborates with choreographers and composes live electro-acoustic soundtracks to screenings of legendary silent films.” I have heard her perform and well worth enjoying even at a cost! www.modianomusic.net
Take advantage of the Green Market locations, one of which is located in Union Square. You can find them all around NYC. I can’t stress how Ronnybrook Farms is like the best source for dairy. There is nothing like having milk that has not been homogenized. It only means that the cream comes to the top of the container. You can get a better price on all their products than going to the stores. Ice cream, drinkable yogurt, cinnamon toast butter, crème fraiche and so much more. Breakfast idea: French toast cooked in the butter. Top with Ginger Crème Brulee ice cream. They don’t make their Chocolate Raspberry Truffle all of the time. Get it while it’s around now. Lines are long so you have to get their early. Check them out at www.ronnybrook.com
Fairytale Brownies is something you can’t get in New York. I was first hooked on their brownies. They are like “fudge” and use Belgian chocolate. Then they came along with cookies. Soft batch cookies. Soft batch chocolate mint cookies…with drizzles of chocolate atop. Tell me, what would you do for “brownie points?” If you don’t want any of their products for yourself, think about someone you love or someone you owe a favor to. Good news is that they are coming here in October for a chocolate show. Don’t wait until then. www.brownies.com
Truth be told…birthday….I put a candle atop a mint chocolate cookie and “nursed” it with a glass of really cold whole milk. I cut the cookie in half and spread the cream at the top of the milk in between the cookie. OMG. You really have to try it!!!