Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry
New York, NY 10004
Staten Island Ferry Description
It's easy to forget that Manhattan is an island, and seeing it from the water provides a whole new perspective on it. The iconic Staten Island Ferry is the last fully free transit for New Yorkers (has been since 1997) — and a well-known way for smart visitors to get great downtown and harbor views (including Lady Liberty) without shelling out a dime. Since 1905 the orange and blue boats of the Staten Island Ferry fleet have been transporting New Yorkers across the 5 mile expanse of the harbor between Manhattan and Staten Island. It is a must do in my opinion — the views of Manhattan are spectacular, plus there is the bustling harbor full of action not normally seen by land-lubbing New Yorkers. The one-way trip takes about 30 minutes — the ideal amount of time to have a sunset nosh. Pack some goodies and climb aboard! Be sure to check out our other Lower Manhattan vacation ideas.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Some of the ferrys have outdoor areas on the sides or the top where you can spend the trip. Kids love it.
School-Age Kids: Go to the website above and click on "facts about the ferry;" kids can quiz each other on how many boats there are, how long the ferry's been in operation, and how many passengers it carries daily.
- Don't go with the flow. To avoid jostling for space with workday commuters, plan your trip for non-rush hour times (toward Manhattan weekday mornings and to Staten Island weeknights are busiest). You'll be fighting for space with commuters.
- Need a snack? Both the ferry terminals and the boat have places to eat. The boats have cool little snack bars selling commuter friendly items like giant pretzels, hot dogs, pop corn plus breakfast and lunch specials with great prices ($2 for breakfast, $5 for lunch).
- Want to make a day of it? Much of Staten Island is covered by mass transit. From the St. George Ferry Terminal families can connect and sometimes even walk to huge parks, a zoo or a wonderful children's museum. Even the Staten Island Yankees minor league baseball stadium is right outside the terminal.
- Look at Liberty. The Staten Island Ferry passes right in front of Lady Liberty with out the extremely long line or expense of the tour boats. You don't however; get to visit Ellis Island or the statue itself. If you just want a look at the lady and some photo ops this could be a great alternative to the "official" boats that take visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
- Terminal fun. The St. George Terminal is a trip in itself: When you arrive at your destination you must get off the boat before your return trip. Don't let this keep you from making the mini-voyage. Depending on when you are traveling the wait could be as little as 15 minutes. There is plenty to do and see in the terminals. Step outside to the terrace for another amazing view of Manhattan; this is also a good place for an antsy kid to run around before boarding the boat again. Inside the terminal, you can grab a snack, a souvenir, use the bathroom or look at the two giant, freshwater fish tanks on display. These fish tanks will sure keep the kids happy even if the views don't.
Just the Facts
Hours: Ferry runs 24/7, with departures every 15 minutes at peak times, every 30 minutes or so during midday and evening, and hourly overnight.
Recommended Time: 1 to 2 hours