/ The New York City Traveler
New York — By Steve Mirsky on January 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm

IKEA Ferry Runs Year Round in NYC

Want in on a secret on how to get from Wall St. to Brooklyn’s Red Hook in about ten minutes?……for free?  If you’re here during the weekend, then you’re in luck!  Get yourself over to Pier 11 in Manhattan and hop aboard the New York Water Taxi heading over to the IKEA superstore. 

Take the NYC Water Taxi

Hop Aboard the NYC Water Taxi

Two things you should know.  First is that historically, getting to funky Red Hook was an extremely long chore for Manhattanites and Brooklyn residents alike before IKEA moved in and subsidized this express ferry. Subway, bus or some required walking were the only way.  Secondly, there’s a lot of buzz being generated lately about whether you need to be a paying customer at the store in order to board the vessel.  Hand stamps, preferred seating for customers, and charges as high as $6 per non-customer have been rumored.  Heck, folks in Red Hook have a temptingly good deal especially when commuting options to the financial district come into play.  But not so fast right?  IKEA is after all a business with profit motives and this can’t just be a big free-for-all….or could it?

“This is, by far, the easiest way to get to Manhattan,” said one Red Hook resident, who said she’s taken the ferry many times without even stepping inside the store. “It’s a free service. It doesn’t say ‘free with purchase’ anywhere.”  I say good point!  I didn’t get patted down for a receipt boarding both ways.  Once in Red Hook, definitely don’t assume that the giant blue and yellow retail magnet is your only destination. 

Walk around the brand new waterfront promenade to Beard St., hang a left, venture down a few cobbled blocks, take another left and walk alongside a large civil war-era stone warehouse that at one end houses the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, a sprawling artist run, not for profit exhibition space.  Outside their doors, a brick pathway with trolley tracks still in place winds behind Fairway Market, a gigantic food store that puts Whole Foods to shame.  Past abandoned trolley cars awaiting tender care, the waterfront bench-laden walkway offers dead-on Statue of Liberty views eventually leading to the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge. Saved from obliteration in a salt marsh, it is now the last of the 5,000 wooden cargo barges that once plied NY Harbor through the 1940s. 

photo courtesy of NYC Water Taxi

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