Take a BYOB Trip Through Time (and the NY Harbor) on the 19th Century “Pioneer” 

07/10/2024 in
Take a BYOB Trip Through Time (and the NY Harbor) on the 19th Century “Pioneer” 

At some point while gazing upon the Lower Manhattan waterfront, you’ve probably seen sailboats cruising New York Harbor and thought, “I wish I was on one of those.” Good news: this dream can become a reality! The South Street Seaport Museum (12 Fulton St.) offers the ultimate activity for history buffs and sailing enthusiasts alike with daytime and sunset sails on the schooner “Pioneer,” a National Register-listed vessel that dates back to 1885. The delightful two-hour cruise, which leaves from Pier 16, will have you getting up close and personal with Lower Manhattan landmarks including the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, Ellis Island and, of course, those stunning skyline views. 

Those who want to try their hand at seafaring can help manually raise the sails ( this is an historic sailboat sans motors, after all) but you can also sit back and relax for a stunning scenic ride. You can even bring your own snacks and drinks to enjoy when you get peckish on the water.

“Pioneer”’s maritime legacy is as fascinating and significant as New York City’s own. “Pioneer” was built in Pennsylvania in 1885 to transport sand and other heavy cargoes along the Delaware River. Most schooners from that time were made of wood, but “Pioneer” was constructed with an iron hull. Remarkably, she is the only remaining American merchant sailing vessel with an iron hull in existence today.

As a maritime museum for a maritime city, the South Street Seaport Museum has preserved and shared the stories of New York’s origin and growth as a major world port for the past 60 years with its fleet of ships, programming and rare artifacts. Visit the museum Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can join the crew of “Pioneer” for a sunset sail on Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., May through October. Daytime sails are also available on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the same months. Learn more and book your tickets in advance here. And for a firsthand look aboard “Pioneer,” see our Reel below.

photo credit: Richard Bowditch

Tags: South Street Seaport Museum

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