Caylie, if you are not familiar with local geography, you may want to study up before making some decisions. Dockage right on Manhattan Island isn't going to happen. Just west, across the Hudson
, you can dock
at Port Liberte, Newport
Marina, and I think another one just above the Statue of Liberty. (Liberty Marina?) They won't be cheap
and they won't be "in" NYC
but they are just one or two stops away on the $2? PATH train, which connects into the NYC
subway system (another $2).
To the east, you can find dockage but I don't think anyplace will let you live aboard until you reach Port Washington
(north shore of Long Island, just east of NYC in Nassau
County) and that commute would be a cab or long walk to the Long Island RailRoad (LIRR) which goes into NYC, about $7 from there. Going further east the next good harbor would be Oyster
Bay, very sheltered, and if Oyster
Bay Marina will let you stay aboard (mainly moorings) they are literally around the back of the LIRR station, a very easy commute. Anything further out on the north shore of Long Island will be pushing past a one-hour commute. But most of the local sailing will be in LI Sound (Connecticut on the north side) rather than being restricted to NY Harbor and the Hudson
River if you dock
From the NJ locations you can pop back out to the Atlantic easily, and since LI Sound gets nearly no wind
(very hot & humid) in July and August, that's a trade-off. Fewer places to go but much more wind
.<G> Your destinations would be the NJ shore mainly, since the south shore of LI is mainly shallow water
and can be a bit hard to access.
Another option is Gateway Marina, if you look for JFK Int. Airport
on the maps, Gateway is just west of it, across from the old Floyd Bennet Airfield. Priced more reasonably, a short bus rider (free transfer) up to the subway system and into Manhattan, etc. but again, a shoal approach and not convenient to anything except heading out to the Atlantic again.
And probably the last option is City Island, which is connected to The Bronx. Plenty of boats, old yacht clubs, dockage and moorings but pricey. And on summer weekends, Main Street is a solid mile of cars, one has to leave the island before the next one can get on. Literally! Plenty of good food
but it can get on your nerves. Transportation into Manhattan is a long bus to the end of a subway line in not so great a neighborhood, you'd really want to check the commute before committing. On the bright side--it's a very convenient place to sail east into LI Sound from, and to meet thousands of local sailors at the many YC's.
As Mike notes, traversing the East River and Hell Gate can be an issue. It's an easy trip if you check on the currents--but if they are at the wrong time or direction, you aren't going through, so scheduling a trip from NY Harbor up into LI Sound isn't always possible during convenient hours.
As you get north of Annapolis
you can readily pick up a copy of the "Eldridge" guide, an orange-covered book that will give you invaluable information about tides, currents, local routing, etc. from the Chesapeake Bay
all the way up into Rhode Island
. Whatever the cost is--it will be worthwhile picking one up.