Sep 8, 2010

St. George Part III - The Ferry

You cannot talk about St. George without bringing up her most famous attraction: The Staten Island Ferry.

Know worldwide, it is said to be in the top ten tourist attractions for New York City, sometimes listed as high as number three on the list.

It is a 25 minute ride and currently FREE!  Each terminal does tell you to get off the boat at their destination but you can get right back on if you make it off and back on time.  This is usually doable.  During rush hour the boats either run on a 15 or 20 minute schedule, with one boat potentially leaving as one is departing.  Your wait for the next boat will not be too long at those times.

When the transit system shuts down for a strike, the Ferry still runs, which is nice and not so nice.  (With the last strike, co-workers were excused from work, and I was not.  I got to show up and do their work too.)

The distance the boat travels each way is 5.2 miles.  On the Manhattan side, there are multiple subways and buses , basically built close enough to be a part of the terminal itself.

The South Street Seaport, Battery Park and the Financial District (Wall Street) are all within walking distance. 

If you are visiting New York, the boat is the best deal in town.  It passes right in front of the Statue of Liberty providing some of the best photo ops in town.  It also departs and arrives in the Whitehall Station/South Ferry Terminal, which again, are the best photo ops of Manhattan.  Multiple bridges can be seen from the boat and Governors Island also.

And of course you have a full blown view of Staten Island itself.  If you look to far to the right when traveling towards Staten Island you will see New Jersey.  (Don’t worry, they would say this about us too.)

And on many days, especially during rush hour, you will get to see homeland security in full force in the terminals and in the water as the brave men and woman of the Coast Guard, travel along side the boat on it's journey.  Don’t be scared, say, “Thank You” as you pass them. 

On the Staten Island side of the terminal, you will depart into our beautiful section know as St. George.  To your right is the Staten Island Yankee Ballpark.  It is just a short walk across a small parking lot. 

If you walk all the way to the end of the stadium, you will get to our main 9-11 memorial, The Postcards.  The Postcards is facing the exact spot the Towers stood and contain sillouetts of all the Staten Island victims we lost that day.

Each terminal is still being developed from the last renovations and is filling up with shops for the riders to enjoy during their wait.

The Ferry Terminal has a long and diverse history.  Before the Verrazano Bridge was built in 1964, it was basically the only way to commute to and from the Island.

The concept of a ferry for passenger travel between Staten Island and Manhattan has been ongoing since the 1700’s.  Over the years, ownership and accessibility has changed greatly.  The Ferry service we know today started in 1905.

Staten Island Ferry Website

Facts about the Ferry:
  • She runs everyday
  • She is 24 hours, with less boats departing in the off hours.
  • She can hold thousands of people each trip.
  • She no longer takes cars (since 9-11).
  • Bikes are allowed, but only on the lower levels.
  • Food and drinks are sold on the boats at the concession stands.

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