Whenever the weather warms up, I find myself drawn to the water more than during the winter. Even if I'm not getting my feet wet but just being by the shore, watching the waves, ducking deranged seagulls and making up stories about the people on their boats, spending time by the water is hitting the reset button for my energy.
The water is also a great way to get around. And I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of it here in New York. We're a city of islands, a harbor city! I remember Jeremy Clarkson championed for using rivers and canals for transportation. In most of their races on Top Gear -- most recently in St. Petersburg -- Clarkson took to the water (and won!), James May lived up to his Captain Slow moniker and our beloved hamster Richard Hammond rode a bike. All three presenters drove during their race in NY. It's sad the original Top Gear crew won't get the opportunity to race that way here in NYC (no one would bat an eye at The Stig on the A train). I could only imagine the insults Jeremy would hurl about the polluted waters and poor Hammond would have to contend with bike messengers.
On a recent afternoon in Jersey City, I watched the ferries come in and out at about 15 minute intervals. That was the first thing I noticed; the wait was minimal. I also noticed how empty the ferries were and wondered why more people didn't take advantage of the ferries. It could be due to the time of day; perhaps I witnessed off-peak ridership but it still seemed depressingly low compared to the number of people who took the PATH train from Lower Manhattan to Exchange Place - the same route.
In New York, the most recognizable ferry is The Staten Island Ferry and it's the ferry with the highest ridership with over 22 million passengers a year. With NY waterfronts in all boroughs being developed there will be a need for more transportation. Forget about new or expanded subway lines - that would probably take centuries to complete and result in $17.50 one-way fares. In the coming years, New York Water Taxi, The East River Ferry and the rest of the ferries run by New York Waterway will see an increase in ridership. Increased ridership might lead to lower fares. I'm confident due to increased New York population, education and awareness of the ferries and their limited environmental impact, lifestyle changes to minimize climate change and the warmer temperatures that more people will commute on the water in NYC. One of the results may even be fewer rage-inducing traffic jams. Commuting on the water will also soothe everyone's nerves the same it does for me.