Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry, Staten Island, NY, USA
|⏰ Opening Hours
8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
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What is Staten Island Ferry?
The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry route operating between Manhattan and Staten Island. For many, it is a daily means of transportation to and from work, but it also stands as an iconic symbol of New York City, affording incredible views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline. The ferry operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and amazingly, it's free.
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As you glide across the harbor, the hustle of the city fades into the background, and you're treated to a panorama that even lifelong New Yorkers never tire of. From the deck, photographers and romantics alike can capture the city in a way that's just not possible from any other vantage point. Each voyage, whether for the commuter or the casual tourist, carries the promise of new memories made against the backdrop of the city that never sleeps.
History of Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry began its service way back in the 18th century when it was operated by private individuals with small twin-masted sailboats. By the mid-1800s, steam-powered boats had taken over, which marked the start of more regular and reliable service. The service has been under the operation of the City of New York since 1905, with the current fleet of ferries named after various notable New York City residents and places.
Not merely a vessel or a service, the ferry is a thread in the fabric of New York history. It has seen the sweeping changes of the city, from its immigration waves to its darkest days such as 9/11, where it served as a critical means of evacuation. The Staten Island Ferry is more than just a commuter's conveyance; it's a living, floating piece of the city's timeline, with each boat ride another chapter in its enduring story.
Why is Staten Island Ferry Important?
The importance of the Staten Island Ferry extends beyond its practical function. It's a symbol of New York's commitment to public transportation and the accessibility of its landmarks. As you might not know, during the 20th century, the ferry helped facilitate the growth of Staten Island and the integration of its communities into the greater metropolis.
Especially poignant were the efforts during the September 11 attacks, where the Staten Island Ferry transported thousands away from Lower Manhattan. Moreover, it contributes to the allure of New York City, attracting millions of tourists each year who may not otherwise have an opportunity to see the city from such a perspective. The ferry is a floating witness to decades of change and a testament to the resilience of a city that has weathered many storms.
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Things to Do & See at Staten Island Ferry
Once aboard the Staten Island Ferry, there are numerous activities and sights to capture your interest. You can take in the stunning city views, especially as you leave or approach the ferry terminals at either end of your journey. Of course, there's the Statue of Liberty, often bathed in golden light during sunset cruises—a sight that locals know is spectacular from the water.
For the curious and the hungry, there are concession stands inside the ferries offering up typical New York fares like pretzels and hot dogs, along with souvenirs that commemorate your trip. Once you reach Staten Island, St. George Terminal itself is a point of interest, with information about the island's history and landmarks, like the St. George Theatre and the Staten Island September 11 Memorial.
And let's not forget the seasonal events. During the summer, there are often concerts and festivities happening at the St. George Terminal, where the local community and visitors alike come together to celebrate. For those wanting to explore even further, connecting to other Staten Island attractions such as Historic Richmond Town or the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a breeze with the local transportation links available right there at the terminal.