Visitor’s Guide to the Staten Island Ferry

Welcome to the Staten Island Ferry, a vital transportation link and a must-see attraction for visitors to New York City. This iconic ferry service offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, all for free. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Staten Island Ferry transports millions of passengers annually between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

History and Significance

The Staten Island Ferry has been a staple of New York City’s transportation system since the 19th century. Initially operated by private individuals with small boats, it was later taken over by the city in 1905 to ensure consistent and reliable service. Over the years, it has become not just a mode of transport but also a symbol of New York’s resilience and diversity.

What makes riding the Staten Island Ferry at sunset a unique experience?

Riding the Staten Island Ferry at sunset offers an extraordinary view as the sun dips below the horizon against New York City's skyline creating a breathtaking backdrop that combines natural beauty with urban grandeur.

Experience on Board

Riding the ferry is an experience like no other. The journey lasts about 25 minutes each way, giving you ample time to soak in breathtaking views of New York Harbor. Onboard amenities include snack bars offering refreshments and souvenirs, making your trip even more enjoyable. Whether you’re catching the early morning light or witnessing the city lights at night, each ride presents its own unique charm.

Visitor Tips

  • Arrive early: To secure a good spot on the deck for photography and sightseeing, it’s best to arrive at least 15 minutes before departure.
  • Check weather conditions: The ferry operates in most weather conditions, but your experience can vary greatly depending on it. Dress appropriately to enjoy your ride comfortably.
  • Explore Staten Island: Once you reach Staten Island, take some time to explore its attractions such as Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden or the Staten Island Museum.

Navigating Your Visit

To get to the ferry from Manhattan, you can take multiple subway lines that stop near Whitehall Terminal including the R1W line. If you’re coming from Brooklyn or other parts of Staten Island, various bus lines offer convenient access to both terminals. Remember that while there is no fare for pedestrians or cyclists crossing in either direction, vehicles are not allowed on board.


  • Free round-trip service between Manhattan and Staten Island
  • Operates 24/7 every day of the year
  • Offers stunning views of Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty
  • Amenities include snack bars on board
  • No fare required for pedestrians or cyclists