5 ways to sightsee via public transport in New York

1) Staten Island Ferry

Instead of paying for a tour to float by the Statue of Liberty, hop on the Staten Island Ferry, whose 5-mile journey takes you through the New York harbor between the tip of Manhattan to Staten Island. The ferry operates 24/7 and is free. Staten Island side is currently being developed to house a mall and towering ferris wheel.

Staten Island ferry sign

Whitehall Terminal


2) Ikea Express Ferry

Off a slip near the South Street Seaport, catch a ferry that takes you to the Ikea dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The 20-minute trip offers nice views of downtown. To explore Red Hook itself, take Beard St and walk 3 blocks to Van Brunt Street’s many cool restaurants, including Fort Defiance. Free on the weekends.

Ikea Express Ferry

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3) NYC Ferry

If you’ve got to use mass transit, traveling the waterways of NYC offers a magical way to get from here to there. Focused mostly on the East River, find destinations from the tip of the Bronx to far Rockaway Beach. Kids under 44 inches ride free with stroller parking. Bikes welcome!

a woman on the NYC Ferry

4) M5 Bus down Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue is still NYC’s main upscale thoroughfare and you can get a glimpse of its shine as you ride from 59th to 42nd street. Lined with the crème de la crème: designer stores, posh hotels, Rockefeller Center. Due to traffic, you’ll be moving slowly, so you can take it all in. Even more dramatic at night especially during the holidays.

M5 bus down 5th Avenue

5) Roosevelt Island Tramway

Use your MTA subway card and take the aerial tramway that spans the East River and connects Manhattan with Roosevelt Island – at dramatic heights. You’ll experience soaring views, and perhaps a bit of acrophobia, in the 5 minutes that it takes to careen you across. When you get there, take a stroll along the river.

Roosevelt Island Tramway

East 59th St (at 2nd Ave)

+1 212 832 4555


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