I’ve been to New York City dozens of times, but I had never taken the Staten Island Ferry before my last trip. Some claim that the Staten Island Ferry is the last remaining free thing left in the greater New York City.
From the NYC DOT, some great statistics (emphasis added):
The City has operated the Staten Island Ferry since 1905. The Ferry carries over 23 million passengers annually on a 5.2-mile run between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The Ferry runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Staten Island Ferry is the most reliable form of mass transit, with an on-time performance of over 96 percent.
On a typical weekday, five boats make 118 trips, carrying approximately 70,000 passengers. During rush hours, the ferry runs on a four-boat schedule, with 15 minutes between departures. Between rush hours, boats are regularly fueled and maintenance work is performed. Terminals are cleaned around the clock and routine terminal maintenance is performed on the day shift. On weekends, three boats are used (98 trips on Saturday and 96 trips on Sunday). The boats make over 40,000 trips annually.
On this chilly Saturday evening, there were some moody skies over lower Manhattan—obscuring the Freedom Tower partially. I captured the photo below about ten minutes into the ferry ride toward Staten Island:
There are some visitors who want to get a closer glimpse of the Statue of Liberty without actually going to a dedicated tour of Liberty Island. The Staten Island Ferry affords really great views of the Statue of Liberty, as seen below:
The next day, I made the return trip on the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan. This time, the skies were clearer and all of lower Manhattan was visible:
A panoramic scene of lower Manhattan (note the Statue of Liberty at the far left and Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges illuminated at far right)
On the final approach to Manhattan from Staten Island, the ferry makes a gentle turn, allowing you to take in beautiful views of Freedom Tower and the surrounding buildings: