Because I live in Staten Island, the Staten Island Ferry plays a big role in my life. The ferry takes thousands of passengers a day to and from Manhattan from Staten Island. From Staten Island it’s possible to take an Express Bus into Manhattan; however, the cost of the bus into Manhattan is $5.50, while the Ferry is free, besides many people enjoy the ride.
In the 1970’s when I first came to New York, riding the ferry was one of the first things I did. Back then I think it cost $.25. They kept changing the price of it until they gave up and made it free. However, that may change again.
In movies I’ve seen, they make out the ferry as being very cold, but it isn’t. It’s cool in the summer when all of the rest of the city is roasting, and in the winter it’s heated. It also has a snack bar on board where you can get coffee and/or beer, or something more solid. There are old ferries and newer ones. The newest ones have four floors with an elevator to take you up and down. I like to ride on the top floor because it’s less crowded and I like the view from up there.
The Staten Island Ferry on its trip passes by the Statue of Liberty, offering the best view one can get of it for free. [photo by me (cerca 1995) (hand tinted)]
Before 9/11, the ferries carried cars to and from Staten Island, but after 9/11 they stopped doing that for security reasons. Driving from Manhattan to Staten Island, without taking the ferry, is rather an ordeal. One has to go through the Battery Tunnel and then around the Brooklyn shoreline to the Verazanno Narrows Bridge. Leaving Manhattan there are no bridge or tunnel fees, but coming into Manhattan, it will cost you about $15.00 in fees.