This is historical reference material from the public domain Ebook titled “Lights and Shadows of New York City” by James McCabe. If you enjoy the material below please feel free to download or read the complete Ebook for FREE by going to the bottom of this post and clicking the link.
The suburbs of New York are very attractive, and excursions to nearly every point within reach of the city are made every day during the summer months. The fares are low, and a day may be pleasantly spent on the water by leaving the city about 8 o’clock in the morning and returning at 6 or 7 P.M.
One of the pleasantest excursions of this kind, is up the Hudson. One may go as far as West Point or Poughkeepsie, and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the famous river, or he may leave the boat at West Point, and spend an hour or two at that place before the arrival of the down boat. The steamers on the Hudson are the best of their kind, and afford every opportunity for enjoyment.
Staten Island, in New York Bay, seven miles from the city, and in full sight of it, offers many attractions to the pleasure seeker. There are several lines of steamers plying between the city and the towns on that island, and making hourly trips. The sail across the bay is delightful, and the fare is only ten or twelve cents each way.
Another trip, and one which should never be omitted by strangers visiting the city, is from Peck Slip up the East River to One-hundred-and-thirtieth street, or Harlem. The route lies along the entire East River front of the city, with Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Long Island City on the opposite shores. Blackwell’s, Randall’s, and Ward’s islands, with their magnificent edifices, are passed, and Hell Gate is an additional attraction. One is given a better idea of the size of New York and Brooklyn in this way, than in almost any other. Not the least of the attractions is the United States Navy Yard, at Brooklyn, an admirable view of which may be obtained from the deck of the steamer in passing it. The boats run hourly from Peck Slip and Harlem. The fare is ten cents each way. In the summer time there is a line of steamers plying between Harlem and the High Bridge, and connecting with the Peck Slip boats.
The towns on Long Island Sound are also connected with New York by lines of steamers. These are among the pleasant objective points for excursionists within reach of the city.
The old route to Philadelphia, by way of South Amboy, offers another attraction. The boat is a fine and powerful steamer, and makes two trips daily between New York and South Amboy. Sometimes the route lies through the picturesque Kill Van Kull, or Staten Island Sound, or through the Narrows, into the Outer Bay, and around Staten Island into Raritan Bay.
The famous resorts of Rockaway and Coney Island are reached in from one to two hours by steamer. At either of these places a day may be spent on the sea shore. The surf-bathing is excellent at both, and each may also be reached by a railway. Of late years, Coney Island has become a favorite resort of the roughs of New York and Brooklyn, and, as a consequence, is not as attractive to respectable visitors as formerly.
Perhaps the pleasantest of all the excursions, except the trip up the Hudson, is the sail from the city to Sandy Hook and back on the Long Branch boats. These are magnificent steamers, and make several trips each day during the summer season. They connect at Sandy Hook with the railway to Long Branch. One may leave the city in the morning, spend the day at the Branch, enjoy a bath in the surf, and reach the New York pier again by 8 o’clock in the evening. The round trip fare is about two dollars. The boats are provided with every luxury, and are famous for their excellent table. A good band accompanies each, and discourses delicious music during the sail. The route lies down the harbor through the Narrows, and down the Lower Bay to Sandy Hook, in full sight of the Atlantic, and near enough to it to feel the deep swelling of its restless breast. Those who do not care to visit Long Branch may make the round trip in four hours.
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