I don’t find myself above 14th street on the east side very often. Besides the senior I visit, there is no reason to be. I also dislike the 4/5/6 train. I dislike the screech of it entering stations; I dislike its path… how it’s always at an arctic temperature of -12 degrees. I try to avoid it, even taking snail-like crosstown buses to reach more plentiful and comfortable subway lines. But on a gorgeous summer day I decided I’d try the East River Ferry. From the midtown terminal at the FDR, I hopped on a ferry at 4:29 and arrived awed and sufficiently windblown in North Williamsburg at 4:45. That’s right: 15 minutes from midtown east in Manhattan to my home across the East River. I found my new favorite way of getting around New York City.
The views were magnificent. Spy the U.N. building and the Queensboro Bridge (which is apparently now the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, named after the Mayor of New York City during the entirety of my childhood). There were only about 7 or 8 passengers who made the voyage across the river with me after I stepped off the free NY Waterways bus–a couple of savvy commuters, a family, some tourists, some hipsters.
The northbound East River Ferry first stops in Long Island City, where those high-rises are peeking out. It’s such a quick ride. No reason to head to the hot and sticky tunnels with the masses when you can travel by boat. Given the development of the waterfront areas in in Queens and Brooklyn, it won’t be long before all those fresh-faced high-risers get their Applebee’s and Olive Gardens just like back home. So jump on the boat before it’s too late!
I love being near the water, on the water and in the water. I could never live inland. People say you’re either Beatles or Elvis, crunchy peanut butter or creamy, but you’re also either pool or beach. Natural water, unpredictable, enveloping, furious, infused with life… or concrete and chemicals. Easy choice.
My vessels drops me to an unfamiliar part of Brooklyn: the Williamsburg waterfront. The ferry continues to South Williamsburg, then D.U.M.B.O. and ont Wall Street, back in Manhattan. The Friday Loop, however, continues to Brooklyn’s lower harbor in the gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Ah New York, I feel like this post is all over the place. What started as an excited report of the ferry grew rant-like. I’m enthused still with you, still, but worried too. You see New York, I’m getting more resistant to change–because like the rest of the world–your change is for quicker, simpler, trashier and profit-tier. Those shiny, new highrises look awkward on you. You’re old, rooted in rebellion, strife, seediness, an energy unmatched. Now, not so much. It used to be that you could avoid Times Square and, in essence, avoid homogeneity and its take-over. But it’s creeped in. And it is wearing neon green Ray-Bans.