View of the Statue of Liberty in the distance from the water taxi to Red Hook, Brooklyn from Pier 11 Slip A in Manhattan.

The Water Taxi Ride from Manhattan Pier 11 Slip A to Red Hook IKEA/Fairways

On the weekends, there is a free water taxi that travels between Pier 11, Slip A, in Manhattan and piers at Fairways and IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn on a regular schedule. It also operates on weekdays but it’s not free. On weekdays, each ticket is $5, but if you keep your ticket receipt and make a purchase at IKEA they’ll deduct that $5, making the ride to the store essentially free.

These are some pictures from the ride there and back:

Water Taxi from Manhattan to Brooklyn and Back Again
On the way out, it started raining right as we boarded, but the boat traveled out from under the clouds and I took a few pictures. On the way back it was much nicer.The boat passes Governor’s Island and the Statue of Liberty is visible in the distance, though I wouldn’t recommend this ride as a good way to get a close, free view of that statue. You’re better off riding the Staten Island Ferry for that, which is also free and passes close to Ellis Island.

The boat passes Governor’s Island and the Statue of Liberty is visible in the distance. I don’t recommend riding this water taxi for a free view of the Statue of Liberty, though. It’s too far away. You’re better off riding the Staten Island Ferry for that, which is also free and passes close to Ellis Island. You just have to make sure you board near the front of the line and stand on the balcony on the correct side of the boat.

When we exited the boat at IKEA, a lot of families walked straight to the parking lot and got in their cars to leave. It looks like they used IKEA’s parking lot for free parking and the boat for a free ride into the city. It makes sense, from a money point of view. Parking isn’t cheap in NYC and the boat drops you off a short walk from Battery Park and quite a few museums.

I also noticed that when you’re leaving the IKEA pier, you pass an NYPD impound lot on the left. There are hundreds of vehicles there, including lots of motorcycles. The motorcycles weren’t covered and they were right by the ocean. I can’t imagine the salt water spray is very good for them.

Anyhow, the water taxi ride is a great way to have some free fun if you’re on your way to IKEA, Fairways, or just Brooklyn in general and you have the time. Or if the trains aren’t running between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn on the weekend, which is almost every weekend.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Photo Galleries)

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Map
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Map

Last month on the 29th my wife and I went to the Brooklyn Museum. Since we were there, we decided we should take a look at the Botanic Gardens, which are right next door. It wasn’t really the season for it. The place is supposed to be a lot nicer when all of the flowers and trees are all in bloom, but it was still a nice place to stop and look around. It’s quiet there. You can almost forget you’re in a city for a while. Some of the roses were still in bloom, which was nice, but I think my favorite part of the trip, which I unfortunately have no pictures of, is the Fragrance Garden. You get to walk around and touch different plants, each of which naturally produces strong fragrances like lemon and spearmint. The odor sticks to your fingers. It’s a great spot for kids and probably for blind people as well, and they had that in mind, because most of the signs in that area are in braille.

Grilled Squash and Zucchini Sandwich with Hummus

Grilled Squash and Zucchini Sandwich with Hummus

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

The food at the Botanic Garden was surprisingly good, even the butternut squash soup. It tasted real, if you know what I mean. Not that it necessarily was, but it was thick and was spiced just right. Expensive, though, just like all museum/park cafes. The next time we go, we want to take a picnic lunch to eat on the lawn under the trees. I’m not sure if it’s allowed, but this is one of those things where I don’t think I’d feel bad about it unless I got caught.

Now, for some photo galleries:

The Japanese Garden

The Cranford Rose Garden:

The Bonsai Trees:

Other parts of the Gardens:

The Brooklyn Museum Photo Gallery

I never would have guessed there was another big museum out in Brooklyn on the north end of Prospect Park, but some friends of ours asked us if we wanted to meet up out there and take a look around there and the Botanic Gardens. It turned out to be a really good trip.

The museum is bizarrely light on displayed items, considering how much the Met has sitting in storage, collecting dust. You’d think they’d share their inventory and more effectively utilize the space available in the Brooklyn Museum, but what they do have there is definitely worth the time it takes to have a look around, especially if you don’t want to deal with the crowds that are usually shuffling through the Met. My only other complaint is the big glass monstrosity (aka the new lobby) that was attached to the front of the building. It destroyed the beauty of the original architecture.

My favorite photos of stuff from the museum’s incredibly diverse collection: