See New York City by Land and Sea: Bus Tour and Harbor Cruise
A adventure that covers New York City by bus, foot and boat, our NY by Land and Sea can be done in 4, 5, and 6 hour versions. Each tour includes a 1 hour Harbor Cruise on the NY Water Taxi following the coach tour.
Our 4 hour version starts with a 3 hour city tour via coach that covers Manhattan from Times Square south to the Battery. We see Rockefeller Center, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Canal Street, Chinatown & Little Italy, TriBeCa, St Paul’s Chapel (the 9/11 “Little Chapel that Stood,”), the World Trade Center Site, Trinity Church, Wall St and the Charging Bull sculpture, Battery Park, and the South Street Seaport.
Our 5 hour version includes the above, plus Central Park and Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Fountain and the Alice in Wonderland Statue, and the Upper West Side and East Sides. Our see-it-all-6 hour version includes Morningside Heights and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Grant’s Tomb, Harlem and the Apollo Theater.
As a city of islands and waterways, you can best gain a unique perspective of NYC on board a New York Water Taxi, while sailing up, down and around New York harbor. Unforgettable photo ops include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights, the Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), the man-made canyons of the Financial District and the South Street Seaport.
Passing underneath history
Many people don’t realize that New York City is really an archipelago: a collection of islands. So what better way to really understand the five boroughs and glimpse our famous bridges and landmarks than on a water-borne tour? Starting in the East River, the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge never ceases to amaze. When it was built it was twice as long as the previous longest bridge in the world and was also the tallest structure in the country! Passing underneath its stunning Gothic arches gives an experience like none other.
It’s just one of three bridges that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn, and imagine how hard it was to build these structures over a hundred years ago when you consider that the East River runs both ways! Technically it’s not a river; it’s a tidal straight. The tide comes in from the New York Harbor every six hours, changing the water level up to six feet.
Speaking of that world famous harbor, its expansive width and natural depth are major reasons that New York became as powerful as it is. Allowing for easy commerce and transportation with its connection to so many waterways is a no brainer, but when you look at the entrance to the harbor you’ll understand another secret to the power of New York City. The Narrows is the only natural entrance from the Atlantic Ocean into our harbor, and they call it that for a reason: it’s only one mile wide and has historically been very well protected. Twin forts protected the narrows from the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn, with additional forts where the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island stand today, not to mention the battery of cannons at Battery Park and the brilliantly engineered Castle Clinton on Governors Island.
Governors Island is another well-kept secret that is only accessible by boat. A former military base that played a major role in every U.S. war from the Revolution up to WWII, it is now a public park, with free festivals, concerts and programs every weekend in the summer time. And now with a $90 million renovation you can see new parks and attractions popping up in the coming years.
The gateway to a new world
As the boat approaches the Statue of Liberty, we see Ellis Island as an enormous reminder of the history of the American people. 12 million immigrants were processed here over the course of sixty years, including more than a few Levy’s! Many of these immigrants were terrified; coming from persecution, hunger and disease they didn’t know exactly what to expect in the new world but the last thing they wanted to do was get sent back. And the examinations began as soon as they stepped off the boat: if they walked with a limp, examiners marked an “L” on their coat with chalk for “lame”. Clutching their heart? “P” for “Pulmonary. “Rubbing their eyes? “C” for “Conjuctivitis”. But many of the new arrivals were clever: they turned their coats inside out to speed up the process. They didn’t have too much to worry about in the end: 98% of them became American citizens.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free…
All other sights fall to the background as you stop in front of the Statue of Liberty: a beacon of hope, freedom and a new world. But just imagine ending a one month long voyage in the holds of a ship to step onto the deck and see her glittering in the sun, bright and shiny like a brand new penny. Made of copper, it took about 30 years for her to oxidize and turn that green color. The Statue was a gift from the French, to celebrate international friendship, and even though they gave it us for free, we had to pay for the base! That huge granite structure would cost us about $800,000—and we did not have that money. So Joseph Pulitzer (who owned the newspaper the New York World) proclaimed that if anyone donated any amount of money “A nickel, a dime, or even a penny”, he would put his or her name of the cover of his newspaper. He raised about $100,000 that way!
A trip around the waterways of New York is not complete without a visit to the Hudson River. Henry Hudson is a hilariously tragic figure of history. He spent his entire life trying to find a passage to India, and he travelled about 150 miles up this river before realizing IT DID NOT GO TO INDIA! The 4th time he left Europe looking for the spices of South Asia, he went to Canada. He circled around in an icy bay when his crew said “Enough is enough”. They sent him out on a life raft and he was never seen again. But he did discover the waterways of New York. He wrote a letter to his benefactors, the Dutch West India Corporation, and they founded a colony on his word. The rest, as they say, is history!