Staten Island Ferry
By Anna Lynn Sibal
Many people say that the best things in life can be had for free, and this is definitely true most of the time. At least, one of the best things that you can do when visiting New York City is to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It is a joy and a pleasure that can be had absolutely for free.
The Staten Island Ferry is a fleet of eleven boats managed by the City of New York’s Department of Transportation. Although the reason behind the establishment of this ferry service is merely to allow an easy commute between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, the ride has become known to be one of the most scenic – and even the most romantic – rides in New York City.
What makes a ride aboard a boat on the Staten Island Ferry line so romantic? The ride on board a Staten Island Ferry boat offers a truly majestic view of the coastline of Lower Manhattan. Not only that, the sights of Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge are simply superb. If you cannot be content with that, wait till the boat you are on passes by Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty. You simply have to bring your camera when taking a ride on a Staten Island Ferry boat. The best way to enjoy a ride aboard a Staten Island Ferry vessel is to hop on the boat for one leg of the journey, hop out on the deck, then hop back in on the way back. In this way, you will be able to absorb the sights from both ways and both legs of the journey.
The Staten Island Ferry system connects Staten Island to Lower Manhattan. These ferry boats dock at St. George on Staten Island and at Whitehall Street on Lower Manhattan. The eleven vessels that make up the fleet of the Staten Island Ferry are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is always a vessel ready and waiting to take in passengers every thirty minutes. Everyday, they make 164 journeys down the five miles between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island and each leg of the trip is thirty minutes long one way. Everyday, close to 70,000 passengers take advantage of this free transit back and forth the two islands, taking the figure to some 30 million per year.
Unlike other ferry services, cars are not allowed on board the Staten Island Ferry vessels. If you are going on for a ride aboard a Staten Island Ferry boat, better hurry up and grab a seat on the benches at the borders of the boat if you want to take advantage of the scenery while you wait for thirty minutes for the boat to complete a leg of its voyage. Those seats fill up very quickly. The wind outside can be pretty chilly too, no matter how warm the day is, so if you are going for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, make sure you have a jacket with you.
New York City Guide