Flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, the New York Harbor is a body of water that surrounds Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and some parts of New Jersey. For centuries, this harbor has played a crucial role in the regional economy and transportation network. Whether you take the Staten Island Ferry or hire a luxurious charter cruise, there are several fun ways to explore this historic harbor. Lower Manhattan has extensive promenades that offer panoramic views of the New York Harbor and the surrounding area. Click to book your New York City Harbor Lights cruise.
Standing more than 150 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is arguably the most iconic landmark in the New York Harbor. Erected in the late 19th century as a gift from France, this world-famous sculpture is situated on Liberty Island. The statue and island are accessible to the public only by boat. Tours usually start at The Battery in Lower Manhattan.
Ellis Island is another historic attraction that’s located in the heart of the New York Harbor. This island once handled millions of immigrants from Europe who pursued the American Dream. The American Museum of Immigration presents the stories of immigrants who entered the United States through this busy harbor.
Officially located in New Jersey, Liberty State Park offers a pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban life. This park includes the Liberty Science Center, which features an array of fun and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.
The largest island in the New York Harbor is known as Governor’s Island. Covering more than 170 acres, this piece of land has a history that goes back to the early 17th century. Fort Jay, Castle Williams, Colonel’s Row, and the South Battery stand as great reminders of the rich heritage of Governor’s Island.
The famous explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was probably the first European to enter the New York Harbor in the early 1500s. About a century later, Henry Hudson sailed into these waters and continued northward along the river that would eventually be named after him.
The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam was established on the southern tip of Manhattan, which served as a strategic location for maritime operations. The British Empire also exploited the convenient location of the harbor.
Since New York City was established, this body of water has supported thriving industries of trade and commerce on a global scale. In its heyday, the New York Harbor was lined with dozens of docks, piers, and ports that dominated the local economy. Today, this harbor reflects the stunning skyline of Manhattan, which includes One World Trade Center.
The State Island Ferry provides a quick, convenient and free way for you to explore the New York Harbor. This historic ferry service runs between St. George Terminal and Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan’s Financial District. A one-way trip between these busy terminals normally takes approximately 15 minutes.
The New York Waterway and NYC Ferry also offer affordable commuter service on the busy waters that surround Manhattan. Several piers and docks are conveniently located at the edges of the Financial District. For example, Pier 11 is within walking distance of Wall Street. As the name suggests, the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal is located near One World Trade Center. Charter cruises routinely offer trips along the New York Harbor, Hudson River and East River.