"Staten Island Ferry" Top 5 Page for this destination Staten Island Ferry Tip by toonsarah
Staten Island Ferry, New York City: 26 reviews and 35 photos
I queried with myself for a while as to whether I should put this tip here or under “Things to Do” as the Staten Island Ferry is certainly as much a sightseeing trip as a means of transport. It also happens to be one of the best freebies, not just in New York, but in any city in the world I suspect! Where else could you take a 25 minute ride affording spectacular cityscape views and not pay a penny?
The reason for this amazing bargain is that the primary purpose of the ferry is to transport Staten Islanders to and from Manhattan rather than provide a tourist attraction, but that’s not to say that tourists aren't made very welcome on board too. When we rode the ferry I think there must have been a fairly even split between tourists and locals (some heading home to the Island after a morning in Manhattan, others visiting friends or maybe business colleagues there). It’s easy to spot the difference – the locals settle down inside with a newspaper or good book and cup of coffee while the visitors head for the decks and hug the rails to get the best views of the city’s skyline and the Statue of Liberty. If you want to do the same, make for the right-hand side of the boat going out to see Liberty and head right to the front coming back to watch the skyscrapers of Manhattan loom ever closer as you approach the dock.
The ferry runs every day of the year, making over 35,000 trips a year and carrying as many as 60,000 people each week day. This can only be achieved by developing a pretty slick operation. In arriving at the terminal you’ll find clear signs indicating when the next boat will depart, and from which gate. When the gate opens everyone moves forwards and boarding is a quick process due to the wide gangway and the amount of space inside (although I appreciate this may be different in the rush hour – we were travelling late morning). When you arrive at the Staten Island Terminal, St George, you’ll be required to disembark even if, like many tourists, you plan to return immediately to Manhattan. On this visit we did just that, but had to wait about 30 minutes during which time we grabbed a quick coffee and admired the tropical fish in the huge fish tanks, a recent gift of Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. But if you want to see something of Staten Island there are bus tours available, and local buses and taxis available just outside the terminal.
Ferries leave Manhattan from South Ferry Terminal – the nearest subway stations are South Ferry (line 1), Whitehall St / South Ferry (line W) or Bowling Green (lines 4 and 6)
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