House Hunters: The NYC Marina Edition

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Liberty_State_Park_ViewHouse Hunters may be one of my favorite shows on television, which is humorous given I gave up my land lubbing ways to live on a boat. With Jason making his way north, the question has been where we will keep the boat once it is back up here. For a city that is made up of multiple islands (Staten Island and Manhattan are their own islands, while Queens and Brooklyn are part of Long Island), New York City doesn’t really cater to the recreational boater – and most definitely not to liveaboards. Oh sure, if you have a 75 ft yacht and managed to sneak your name on the marina’s waiting list 8 years ago you just may be able to get a slip at Chelsea Piers or The Boat Basin in 2020, but times are a little tougher for us mere mortals. So for my sole entertainment I am going to present our marina search in House Hunters form.

…Kelley and Jason have spent the last year and a half sailing on their 34ft sailboat in the Bahamas but are looking for a spot up north to stay safe during hurricane season…

I may get a few “WTF” stares when I tell my new coworkers that we are going to live on a boat, but Jason and I have been doing this for the last year and a half. It’s our “normal,” and I was down to live aboard in the city as long as we found a spot that met a few requirements…

  1. I had to stay at a marina. There are a few moorings in the Hudson that you can live aboard, but the wake out there can get pretty bad with all the ferry traffic going back and forth all day long. There was no way I was going to chance getting my pretty new work clothes soaked on a dinghy ride to land either. Also the idea of not having shore power for AC just wouldn’t work. It gets down right sweltering in this city!
  2. I had to be able to commute relatively easily. This meant no Long Island and LIRR, and no Westchester and Metro North either!
  3. I also wanted a marina near some sort of public transportation. Our last marina in Brooklyn was a ridiculous hike way farther out in Brooklyn than I even knew was possible. You had to take the train out to the end of the line and then still take a cab. No way that was going to go along with a morning commute.
  4. We also had to be able to only sign a summer season contract or pick a spot that had a DIY yard as there is some work we want to do on our ole girl once the temperatures drop.

Once we narrowed down our options based on our requirements we were left with three viable options: Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City and Worlds Fair Marina in Queens. Each of the marinas have their plusses and minuses.

Worlds_Fair_MarinaLet’s start with World’s Fair Marina. This is the marina I was convinced we’d be staying at. It is right next to Citifield so I thought it would be a perfect spot to have a few friends over for a drink before or after a Mets game (Jason is a huge fan). This was our cheapest option at $2500 for the season (April – October, which they said they’d prorate). Also a bonus was that one of Jason’s best friends kept his boat there. All major wins. I was all set to pay a deposit without ever seeing the place in person. Once I did visit the drawbacks were very clear. This marina is so so so very close to LaGuardia Airport. Like, “my entire body vibrates when a plane is about to land” close. And, holy crap is it LOUD! This place wasn’t going to cut it. I made that decision before even factoring in the absolutely rank smell at low tide and that the docks that were falling apart.

Liberty_Landing_Marina Anchor_CarpetNext up is Liberty Landing Marina. This is definitely the nicest marina of the three. And by nice, I mean really, really, really nice. To start, the marina is in Liberty State Park which would be absolutely awesome for the dogs. I worry about them transitioning from free-spirited, beach roaming dogs back to city folks. Being close to a park they could run around in multiple times a week would be great. There are also a ton of running paths that I could take Riley for jogs on. The docks are very well kept, and there are TONS of boats there. Add in that our new friends Tasha and Ryan from Turf to Surf are camping out in a motor boat for the summer means we’d be guaranteed to have more than a few fun times. The bathroom and shower facilities mirror that of a spa (seriously) and the lounge rooms have cute anchor patterned carpet (I know that shouldn’t be a selling point, but it was just so cute!). They also have two restaurants and bars on site. They have the bonus of having a DIY yard we can haul out to. The drawback is that it isn’t the easiest spot to commute to and from. To get to Manhattan you either take the ferry from the marina to Tribecca (at $7 a pop) and then walk 12 minutes to the subway. This is definitely doable, except the ferry doesn’t run all hours of the night. When it stops running you have to take the Path train into Jersey City and cab it back home (because if I’m doing this it will be late at night and probably not the best idea to walk home in the dark by myself). This place is also the most expensive of the three. I think for a boat our size it works out to $595/month for the year. Definitely not outrageous when most NYers wouldn’t even bat an eye at a $2000/month rent for a place smaller than our boat.

Liberty_Harbour_MarinaOur last option is Liberty Harbor Marina which is just across the canal from Liberty Landing. Its major appeal is that it is within walking distance to the Path train making it an easy commute. It’s also really close to the all the cute stores and restaurants in Jersey City. And boy do I love to explore cute neighborhoods! The docks are decently kept and the marina is pretty large with a lot of boats. The facilities are fine (clean bathrooms, laundry, etc all on site), but nothing to write home about. And hell, you could even camp on some artificial turf right outside the laundry room if you wanted! Why you’d want to do this is still unclear, but good to know it is an option. There is also a restaurant onsite but I’m told this is more of a fist-pumping, Jersey shore type of spot. They also have a DIY yard on site. This place works out to be about $100 cheaper a month than Liberty Landing. There are no real drawbacks, except that is not Liberty Landing.

In true House Hunters style I immediately eliminated Worlds Fair Marina, leaving me with the two Jersey City marinas. I’m having a hell of a time trying to chose the winner. Is a crappier, more expensive commute worth the extra amenities and proximity to the park? I just cannot decide.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Since you say the two Jersey City marinas are across a canal from one another, could you stay at Liberty Harbor — with the better commute — and dinghy the dogs over to play in the park a couple times a week? Not being from around there, don’t know if that’s even a possibility . . .

    • Carolyn – technically yes. The problem is we really have no way to get back on the dock once we head to the par. It’s all key card access. It is only a 20-30 minute walk, but would be nice to do daily.

  2. A few years ago (and before I met him) Hans lived at Liberty Landing Marina. He took the ferry each day (it was $5.00 then). Of course this happened to be the coldest winter on record at that time and he kept a space heater in his berth where he holed up each night after work. It was so cold the head would slush up and he would take his suit to the bath house so he could get dressed there after his shower and before heading off to work. Needless to say this was a lot cheaper than trying to rent an apartment. Except for the cold, he really liked it there.

  3. Liberty Landing Marina
    Yes the commute is a bit longer but the considerable time you spend with your pups will be more enjoyable for you and them, as well as having nicer amenities.

  4. I vote for option #3! Yes, you are closer to the park, but how much money/time are you spending on the commute that you could save for cruising/use to walk the pups somewhere else? But I’m also the cheapest person in the world… 😉

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