Cookies

This Website use Cookies OK

Read more NEW YORK News News

N.J. man makes sweet ride to Brooklyn, and a peerless view of Lady Liberty, his daily commute

2019-08-19

David Pike of Jersey City skips mundane travel to get to his Red Hook, Brooklyn, business by riding his Jet Ski from the marina in Port Liberte. (Mark Woodward/New York Daily News)

David Pike has the coolest commute in New York City.

The Jersey City businessman skips the mundane travel routine of bus-to-ferry-to-subway-to-car to get to his Brooklyn destination — and simply dons T-shirt, shorts, sunglasses and life jacket to push off a Jet Ski from the marina near his Port Liberte home.

“It’s so exhilarating," he told the Daily News. “There is nothing like it in the world.”

“If there are no waves, I just go full throttle,” he added of a ride that slices mounds of surface white water as Lady Liberty looks down on him. “I just let it rip at 40 mph... as I cross New York harbor and aim for Brooklyn."

For Pike, it’s a sweet deal to trade the drudgery of a daily commute for an incomparable breeze of a ride.

Pike’s normal morning odyssey would involve a shuttle bus and ride on the PATH train, followed by a descent into the steamy subway before popping up in Red Hook. He’d finish it all off with a Uber ride, or long walk, to the open-air garage that houses his company, New York Trolley.
Pike’s normal morning odyssey would involve a shuttle bus and ride on the PATH train, followed by a descent into the steamy subway before popping up in Red Hook. He’d finish it all off with a Uber ride, or long walk, to the open-air garage that houses his company, New York Trolley. (Mark Woodward/New York Daily News)

“My commute used to be 90 minutes each way, now its 15 minutes dock to dock,” he boasted. “It’s ridiculous (how) the traffic can be so bad.”

Pike’s normal morning odyssey would involve a shuttle bus and ride on the PATH train, followed by a descent into the steamy subway before popping up in Red Hook. He’d finish it all off with a Uber ride, or long walk, to the open-air garage that houses his company, New York Trolley.

Now, the owner and operator of a small fleet of trolleys used for upscale weddings and special events docks his Jet Ski where he parks his vehicles — at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal on Red Hooks’ shore.

(Mark Woodward/New York Daily News)

He punched his ticket to commuter paradise — and daily adventure — with a $1,000 Ebay purchase of a used 1996 Yamaha Wave Venture. Since then, he’s been traveling by Jet Ski about three times a week from April until November.

“It’s a hive of activity. It’s cool to see a working harbor,” Pike said of the ride, during which he often sees paddle boarders, kayakers and swimmers. He said the perception of both the Hudson and East rivers is evolving.

“People have a stigma the water is dirty. I think that is changing," he said. “It’s not a dirty waterway.”

His new routine has “been a game changer,” said Pike, whose wife, Caroline, is a Memorial Sloan Kettering physician. “It’s the best commute in the world."

At low tide, Pike has even laid claim to his own private oasis — a sliver of sandbar where he can stand about 650 feet from the south side of the Statue of Liberty.
At low tide, Pike has even laid claim to his own private oasis — a sliver of sandbar where he can stand about 650 feet from the south side of the Statue of Liberty. (Mark Woodward/New York Daily News)

The scenery ain’t bad, either.

“I pass Staten Island. I pass Manhattan on the left,” Pike said. “I pass cruise ships and tourist boats.”

State officials could not say exactly how many people in New York are registered as Jet Ski operators because they are classified, along with boats, as watercraft.

Registration totals fluctuate year-to-year depending on when owners are required to renew their registration. The State Department of Motor Vehicles said in 2019 there were 356,859 watercraft registered.

At low tide, Pike has even laid claim to his own private oasis — a sliver of sandbar where he can stand about 650 feet from the south side of the Statue of Liberty.

Pike, the owner and operator of a small fleet of trolleysused for upscale weddings and special events docks his Jet Ski where he parks his vehicles — at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal on Red Hooks’ shore.
Pike, the owner and operator of a small fleet of trolleysused for upscale weddings and special events docks his Jet Ski where he parks his vehicles — at the Brooklyn Marine Terminal on Red Hooks’ shore. (Mark Woodward/New York Daily News)

“For me, the water is a way of life,” said Pike. “People need to see the vantage point of the city from New York Harbor.

“I couldn’t be happier.”