Staten Island Ferry, Iconic New York


It’s the sloshing of water that does it for me, the way the ferry muscles up against the forest of imprisoning piles in a way that seems so – well – New York. It takes me straight back to childhood in the late 60s, when we lived on Long Island and the Staten Island Ferry was a lynchpin of our outings to Manhattan. In those days the Staten Island Ferry cost 5 cents, which appealed to my father’s thrifty instincts. In peak hours it’s a commuter ferry, linking Manhattan with the leafy dormitory of Staten Island, a distance of about 10 kilometres as the flounder swims. Its an iconic trip – past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the gateway for hundreds of thousands of immigrants to 19th century America. Closer to Staten Island there’s a view of the open sea through the Verrazano Narrows, and sometimes you’ll pass one of the great liners – the Queen Mary 2 if you’re really lucky – at the end of their trans-Atlantic run. There’s no real reason to get off at Staten Island. For me and half the other passengers on a mid-morning ferry it’s a sightseeing cruise. The return trip is even better, the skyline of Lower Manhattan growing ever larger with the throb and pulse of the deck. It’s more impressive than I remember. These days the ferry ride is free, which would please Dad even more.

Duration of journey: 25 minutes


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