By 1840, New Yorkers were coming to Long Branch by steamboat. Either traveling on the Shrewsbury River to Pleasure Bay or to a pier on the oceanfront, a round trip ticket cost $3.00. Recreational boating on the Shrewsbury was also a popular pastime.
The city didn't have much luck with oceanfront piers during the steamer era as this article attests.
Iceboating on the Shrewsbury was popular in the winter. The Long Branch Ice Boat & Yacht Club was formed in 1901 and remains active today. It is located on Renwick Place.
There were plenty of recreational boats on the Shrewsbury River, as well.