New York City provides countless opportunities for quick escapes into nature. One of our favorites: the Staten Island Ferry ride between Manhattan and Staten Island.
There’s nothing quite like leaving often-cramped-feeling Manhattan by way of the Staten Island Ferry. Almost immediately, you feel uplifted and refreshed by the vast expanse of the big merging rivers and the sky all around you. Especially, on a sweltering hot summer day, the open space of the water and the fresh breeze make you feel even better than the AC on the subway.
The Staten Island Ferry ride provides you with fantastic views of Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, New York Harbor, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge. Of course, you’ll also get to see lots of boats, seagulls and helicopters.
See all the major views of a Staten Island Ferry ride in our short video:
What makes riding the Staten Island Ferry even better: it’s free, it runs all day and night AND they sell beer for really cheap. As far as we know it’s the cheapest outdoor bar in all of New York City.
Imagine taking the Staten Island Ferry around sunset, sunrise or under the twinkling stars… Sounds like a Happier Place, doesn’t it?
The ferry runs 24/7 on the hour or half hour (depending on the time of day or night). The journey across in either direction takes about 25 minutes. Since 9/11 you can’t stay on the ferry once it reaches the terminal to wait for the return trip. Everybody has to get off the boat at the destination terminal, walk around and get on the next boat leaving in the other direction. So you should plan at least 1 hour, probably more, for a round trip.
If it’s during the day, you might want to walk around the boardwalk near the Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and enjoy cool views of New York harbor, New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn in the distance. Or if you just arrived in Manhattan: don’t miss out on spending a little time in one of NYC’s many, many green spaces: Battery Park. That famous park at the southern tip of Lower Manhattan is just to the west of the Ferry Terminal.
All photos in this post were taken by Luci Westphal. By clicking on an individual image you can see a larger version. The photograph at the top of this post shows the Staten Island Ferry as seen from Governors Island. The music in the video is by Jason Shaw.