NY Waterway
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NY Waterway
NY Waterway
NY Waterway logo.svg
NY Waterway ferry with Jersey City skyline.jpg
LocaleNew Jersey
New York
WaterwayHudson River
East River
New York Bay
Transit typePassenger ferry
OwnerPort Imperial Ferry Company[1]
Began operationDecember 3, 1986
No. of lines23
No. of vessels32[2]
No. of terminals18
Daily ridershipApprox. 30,000[3]
Weehawken headquarters and terminal

Port Imperial Ferry Company,[1]doing business as NY Waterway (or New York Waterway), is a private transportation company running ferry and bus service in the Port of New York and New Jersey and in the Hudson Valley. The company utilizes public-private partnership with agencies such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit, New York City Department of Transportation, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide service and maintain docking facilities.[4]

NY Waterway uses ferry slips at four terminals in Manhattan as well as terminals and slips in Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Edgewater, all located along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Commuter peak service is also provided on the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry, Newburgh-Beacon Ferry, and to the Raritan Bayshore. Excursions and sightseeing trips[5] include those to Yankee Stadium,[6]Gateway National Recreation Area, and Governors Island. The Manhattan to Jersey City route is used as one of the alternatives for connecting the New York and New Jersey segments of the East Coast Greenway hiking and biking trail, the other choice being the George Washington Bridge.

As of November 2019, NY Waterway has a total fleet of 32 vessels.[2]


Founding and early years

In 1981 Arthur Edward Imperatore, Sr., a trucking magnate, purchased a 2.5 miles (4.0 km) length of the Weehawken, New Jersey waterfront, where the company is based,[7] from the bankrupt Penn Central for $7.5 million, with the plan to redevelop the brownfield site as had others along the west bank of the Hudson River waterfront and to restore ferry service to it. In 1986 he established New York Waterway,[3] with a route across the river between Weehawken Port Imperial and Pier 78 on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan. Three years later, it began operation between Hoboken Terminal and Battery Park City.[8][9]

During the course of the next decade numerous routes across the Hudson were added.[10] NY Waterway briefly also operated a high-speed ferry from Staten Island to East 34th Street in 1998,[11] but discontinued it due to low ridership. This marked the first time that NY Waterway discontinued a route.[12]

Expansion and near bankruptcy

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center destroyed the PATH terminal located there, greatly reducing cross-Hudson River passenger capacity. The company was well-positioned to take advantage of government investment in ferry service, receiving subsidies and generous agreements to docking at public facilities.[13][14] NY Waterway service quickly expanded by adding new routes and increasing the frequency of crossings, heavily borrowing to fund the acquisition of additional vessels.

After PATH service was restored ridership significantly declined, the loss of passengers bringing the company, unable to reduce its fixed costs, to brink of bankruptcy. By December 2004, there was deep concern that there would be a total shutdown of ferry service, disrupting the commutes of 30,000 daily riders.[15] The Port Authority, as well as city and state agencies had already contracted the construction of new ferry terminals to be leased to private operators. The shutdown was averted when the new Billybey Ferry Company, which had never before operated ferry services, founded by Manhattan lawyer William B. Wachtel, agreed to take over almost half of NY Waterway's equipment and routes. The remaining service remained under control of the Port Imperial Ferry Corporation, the legal name of the original organization. Other ferry and sightseeing boat operators were displeased that the Port Authority approved the transfer without a transparent bidding process.[16]

In December 2016, the company announced it would reacquire Billybey Ferry and merge ownership back under a single roof.[17]

East River Ferry

At Pier 11 on East River

In February 2011, NY Waterway was contracted to operate a route calling at slips in Brooklyn and Queens as well as the East River terminals.[18] In June 2011, the NY Waterway-operated East River Ferry line started operations.[19][20] The route was a 7-stop East River service that ran in a loop between East 34th Street and Hunters Point, making two intermediate stops in Brooklyn and three in Queens. The ferry, an alternative to the New York City Subway, cost $2.75 per one-way ticket[21].

Subsidized by the City of New York, the service was originally intended for commuters, but after a few months became popular with weekend users and tourists.[22] It was used by two to six times the number of passengers that the city predicted would ride the ferries. From June to November 2011, the ferry accommodated 2,862 riders on an average weekday, as opposed to a projection of 1,488 riders, and it had 4,500 riders on an average weekend, six times the city's projected ridership; in total, the ferry saw 350,000 riders in that period, over 250% of the initial ridership forecast of 134,000 riders.[23] The route was merged into NYC Ferry on May 1, 2017, coming under the operation of Hornblower Cruises.[24][25]

Rescue operations

Coming to the aid of downed Flight 1549

NY Waterway has played a role in a number of rescue and emergency operations.[26] In the immediate after effects of September 11, 2001 attacks, the company was instrumental in the evacuation of passengers who otherwise would have been stranded[27] in Manhattan due to the chaos created in the mass transit system. The ferry service also brought people across the river during Northeast Blackout of 2003 when service on New Jersey Transit and Port Authority Trans-Hudson trains could not operate. During the 2005 New York City transit strike it provided alternative transportation.

In 2009, the company was instrumental in the rescue of passengers of US Airways Flight 1549, which made an emergency landing on the Hudson River.[28] The firm gained media attention both for its efforts to rescue passengers from airplane and for its hiring of 19-year-old Brittany Catanzaro as captain. Thanks in a large part to the successful efforts of Captains Vincent Lombardi and Catanzaro, together with their crews, all aboard were rescued.

On April 6, 2012, a NY Waterway ferry rescued the crew of the Katherine G, a tugboat that capsized near Liberty Island.[29] The ferry's captain, Mohamed Gouda, had also commanded one of the ferries that participated in the flight 1549 rescue.

Jersey City expansion

Service to the Jersey City ferry landing of Harborside began on October 2, 2017 following a joint announcement between NY Waterway and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, which owns the Harborside office complex.[30] NY Waterway built the landing at a cost of $500,000 after receiving the water rights from Mack-Cali for a period of 75 years.[30] The complex's Harborside 1 building acts as an intermodal transportation center, with the ferry landing to the east of the building and a Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station to the west.


Battery Park City Ferry Terminal (at left) is moored in the Hudson River just north of World Financial Center North Cove

9/11 fraud settlement

In 2003 the US began investigating NY Waterways in allegations that the region's leading private ferry company defrauded the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack. The United States attorney and the inspector general were trying to determine whether New York Waterway submitted invoices enabling the company to be paid twice for the same expenses and whether it overcharged for other items. [31] In July 2006 NY Waterway agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle civil fraud charges brought by the United States in connection with payments made by the government to NY Waterway for ferry service after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Government alleged in its complaint that NY Waterway inflated its incremental costs, overstated its ferry service profit margin, and submitted false bills to the Port Authority to gain reimbursement for charter boat expenses that NY waterway, in fact, did not incur.[32]

Homeport controversy

The "home port" for maintenance and refueling has long been located at Weehawken Port Imperial. NY Waterway sold the upland property and in November 2017 purchased former Union Dry Dock 8-acre (3.2 ha) site in Hoboken to build a new facility.[33] The city and the company are embroiled in a dispute over its construction. The city has refused to grant permission to allow the project to proceed saying that it prevent completion of the a contiguous waterfront walkway. A plan for NJ Transit to purchase the property and lease it to NY Waterway was withdrawn after intervention by Governor Phil Murphy[34][35] NY Waterway is suing the city to allow it to continue with construction.[36]

Safety issues

On November 24, 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard pulled 23 ferries out of the company's 32-vessel fleet due to safety issues following a routine annual inspection.[2][37] Customers experienced delays the following day, but all but one vessel had resumed service by the evening of November 25th.[38]

NJ Transit fare-sharing

In June 2012, New Jersey Transit and NY Waterway began a fare-sharing program for riders transferring between the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and ferries at Port Imperial for ten-trip and monthly tickets.[39] in a program called Surf and Turf[40] In May 2013 NY Waterway initiated afternoon bus service along the NJT bus routes 158, and 159R, which travel north to Fort Lee, and 156R, with continuing service to Englewood Cliffs.[41][42] Passengers who purchase a 10-trip or a Monthly Joint Bus-Ferry pass take the bus to the Port Authority Bus Terminal during mornings and travel by ferry in the evening.[43] In December 2014 it was announced that NJT will buy ten buses for NY Waterway's use on its Manhattan bus routes.[43] In January 2016, NY Waterway and NJT introduced the Hudson GoPass, allowing for unlimited use on light rail, ferry and bus routes 156, 158, 159.[44] NJ Transit has also provided funding for boat maintenance and bus purchases.[45]

Routes and terminals

Ferries at Paulus Hook Ferry Terminal, Exchange Place
Crossing the Upper Bay

Manhattan services originate across five localities in three counties in New Jersey: Bergen County (Edgewater), Hudson County (Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City), and Monmouth County (Middletown Township).[46] These localities are listed below from north to south.

Edgewater service

Terminals Notes
Edgewater Ferry Landing[47] Midtown / West 39th Street
Pier 79, Midtown[48]
Weekday peak service only

Weehawken service

Terminals Notes
Lincoln Harbor[49] Midtown / West 39th Street
Pier 79, Midtown[48]
Off-peak trips also serve 14th Street[50]
Port Imperial[51]
Brookfield Place Terminal
Battery Park City[52]
Weekday peak service only, select trips also serve Pier 11[53]
Pier 11 / Wall Street
Financial District[54]
No off-peak weekday service

Hoboken service

Jersey City service

Middletown Township service

Terminals Notes
Belford / Harbor Way
Raritan Bayshore[61]
Midtown / West 39th Street
Pier 79, Midtown[48]
Weekday peak service only, intermediate stops at Pier 11, Brookfield Place, and Paulus Hook

Upstream Hudson services

Ferry approaching Beacon ferry slip

The Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry connects Haverstraw in Rockland County with Ossining in Westchester County. The Ossining terminal is located adjacent to Ossining station, which is served by Metro-North's Hudson Line. The Newburgh-Beacon Ferry connects Newburgh in Orange County with Beacon in Dutchess County. The Beacon terminal is located adjacent to Beacon station, also served by the Hudson Line. Both ferries are operated under contract from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Manhattan connecting buses

Three NY Waterway buses at the West Midtown Ferry Terminal

NY Waterway operates connecting bus service for ferry passengers on different routes in Manhattan.

See also


  1. ^ a b Mestanza, Jean-Pierre (July 1, 2011). "NY Waterway adds ferries to Brooklyn and Queens from Manhattan's Wall Street/Pier 11". NJ.com. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Coast Guard suspends NY Water ferries over safety issues". Associated Press. November 24, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ a b Carroll, Timothy J. (October 11, 2009). "20 Years Crossing the Hudson". Jersey City Reporter. Hoboken: Hudson Reporter. pp. 7 & 16. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Dunlap, David W. (April 7, 2002). "Launching a Flotilla of Ferry Terminals". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Your Key to the City". Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Maurer, Mark (October 6, 2010). "NY Waterway's Yankee Clipper offers 'Sailgate' cruises to all Yankees post-season home games". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Nancy Rieger and Armand Pohan". The New York Times. May 20, 2010. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Battery Park City Ferry Terminal". McLaren Engineering Group. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Uhlig, Mark A. (May 5, 1988). "Site in Manhattan is Chosen for New Ferry Terminal". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Bagli, Charles V.; Flynn, Kevin (July 22, 2003). "A Fleet and How It Grew; Ferry Operator's Dominance Draws Rivals' Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Newman, Andy (1997-12-30). "Another Ferry Service to Take Over Staten Island Route". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Pristin, Terry (1998-07-07). "Speedy Ferry Service Between Staten Island and West 38th St. Is Ending". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Bagli, Charles V.; Flynn, Kevin (July 22, 2003). "A Fleet and How It Grew; Ferry Operator's Dominance Draws Rivals' Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Bagli, Charles V. (June 25, 2003). "City Lost Money From Ferry Operators' Fees, the Comptroller Finds". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Golway, Terry (December 19, 2004). "Transportation; Mutiny on the Hudson". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  16. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (February 15, 2005). "Port Authority Picks Lawyer To Run Ferries on Hudson". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Moore, Kirk (December 9, 2016). "NY Waterway makes Billybey buyback". WorkBoat. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (February 1, 2011). "Ferries to Ply East River Far More Regularly Soon". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  19. ^ Clark, Roger (June 1, 2011). "East River Ferry Service To Make A Splash". NY1. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M.; Quinlan, Adriane (June 13, 2011). "East River Ferry Service Begins". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016.
  21. ^ "NYC Ferry Ticketing Information & Fares". New York City Ferry Service. Retrieved .
  22. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (October 16, 2011), "Though Others Failed, New East River Ferries Are a Hit", The New York Times, retrieved
  23. ^ Mcgeehan, Patrick (October 16, 2011). "East River Ferry Service Exceeds Expectations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "NYC launches ferry service with Queens, East River routes". NY Daily News. Associated Press. 2017-05-01. Archived from the original on 2017-05-01. Retrieved .
  25. ^ Levine, Alexandra S.; Wolfe, Jonathan (2017-05-01). "New York Today: Our City's New Ferry". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Video: NY Waterway ferry boat captain recalls the 9/11 attacks as viewed on the Hudson River". NJ.com. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ Rife, Judy (October 12, 2005). "Newburgh-Beacon Ferry Crew Set to Go". Times Herald-Record. Middletown. Retrieved .
  28. ^ Applebome, Peter (January 17, 2009). "A Small Town's Recurring Role as a Rescue Beacon". The New York Times. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Tugboat Capsizes Near Liberty Island; 3 People Rescued". CBS News. 2012-04-06. Archived from the original on 2012-04-09. Retrieved .
  30. ^ a b Marroquin, Mario (October 3, 2017). "Mack-Cali, NY Waterway announce Harborside ferry". NJBIZ. Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ Bagli, Charles (April 18, 2003). "Ferry Operator Is the Target Of U.S. Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ "Ferry Operator Agrees to Pay $1.2 Million to Settle Civil Charges That It Defrauded the Government After the September 11th Terrorist Attacks" (PDF). U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ https://betterwaterfront.org/?p=7820
  34. ^ McDonald, Corey W. (April 24, 2019). "NY Waterway says Hoboken's refusal to talk may be met with legal action". NJ.com.
  35. ^ Villanova, Patrick (April 24, 2019). "Here's what NY Waterway's proposed Hoboken facility could look like". NJ.com.
  36. ^ "New rules for Airbnb up for consideration at next Jersey City Council meeting". June 7, 2019.
  37. ^ Zoppo, Avalon (November 24, 2019). "New York Waterway ferries suspended after failing inspections. Here's how it will affect Monday's commute". NJ.com. Retrieved 2020.
  38. ^ "Most NY Waterway Service Restored After Ferries Suspended Due To Safety Inspections". CBS New York. November 25, 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  39. ^ "NJ Transit & NY Waterway Joint "Discounted" Ticket". The Star-Ledger. NY Waterway. Retrieved .
  40. ^ Frassinelli, Mike (May 31, 2012). "NJ Transit, NY Waterway collaborate for cheaper 'Surf and Turf' pass". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved .
  41. ^ Frassinelli, Mike (May 24, 2013). "Ferry commute sidesteps cramped Lincoln Tunnel, Port Authority Bus Terminal". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved .
  42. ^ '"Try Cruising Home Tonight" (Press release). New Jersey Transit. Retrieved .
  43. ^ a b Vena, Joseph R. (September 16, 2013). "NY Waterway Bus-Ferry Travel Option expansion offers commuters faster ride home". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "Hudson Go Pass". Retrieved 2016.
  45. ^ Christopher Maag. "NJ Transit gets $6M for improvements to ferry boats". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved 2016.
  46. ^ "Ferry Route Map" (PDF). NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  47. ^ "Edgewater Ferry Landing". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g "Midtown / W. 39th St". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  49. ^ "Lincoln Harbor / Weehawken". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  50. ^ a b "Lincoln Harbor / Weehawken - Midtown / W. 39th St". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  51. ^ "Port Imperial / Weehawken". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  52. ^ a b c d e "Brookfield Place Terminal". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  53. ^ "Port Imperial / Weehawken - Downtown Pier 11 / Wall St". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  54. ^ a b c "Pier 11 / Wall St". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  55. ^ "Hoboken 14th St". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  56. ^ "Hoboken NJ Transit Terminal". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  57. ^ "Harborside Ferry Landing". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  58. ^ "Paulus Hook". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  59. ^ "Liberty Harbor / Marin Blvd". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  60. ^ a b "Port Liberte". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.
  61. ^ "Belford / Harbor Way". NY Waterway. Retrieved 2020.

External links

Media related to NY Waterway at Wikimedia Commons

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