Visitor’s Guide to the Staten Island Ferry

Step aboard the Staten Island Ferry for an iconic New York City experience that offers more than just transportation. As the wind rustles through your hair and the skyline unfolds before you, this ferry journey promises breathtaking views and a slice of city life like no other. Whether you’re a curious traveler or a local seeking a leisurely escape, the Staten Island Ferry promises a memorable voyage across the waters.

The Staten Island Ferry is a beloved NYC institution that shuttles passengers between Manhattan and Staten Island. What makes this ferry truly special is that it provides a front-row seat to some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Plus, it’s free of charge, making it an accessible adventure for all.

Why should you take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry?

The Staten Island Ferry offers a unique perspective of the city's skyline, iconic landmarks, and waterways. As you glide through the harbor, you'll catch sight of Lady Liberty herself and take in panoramic views that are a photographer's dream. It's a delightful way to experience NYC's maritime charm and snap envy-inducing pictures to share with friends.

The origins of the Staten Island Ferry date back to the early 18th century when a simple rowboat service provided the means for Staten Island residents to cross the harbor to Manhattan. As the population grew, so did the demand for more efficient transportation options. In 1817, the first steam-powered ferry, the Richmond, embarked on its inaugural voyage, marking a technological leap that would forever change the way New Yorkers crossed the water.

Over the years, various ferry operators navigated the waters between Staten Island and Manhattan, with routes merging and evolving. The Staten Island Rapid Transit Railway Company (SIRT) acquired several of these routes, which eventually consolidated into the Staten Island Ferry system we know today.

By the mid-20th century, the Staten Island Ferry had transitioned to a public service operated by the City of New York. Throughout the years, it became more than just a means of transportation; it emerged as a cultural touchstone and a backdrop for countless films, TV shows, and photographs.

The ferry’s route offers a visual feast of landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the towering Manhattan skyline. These scenic vistas have made the Staten Island Ferry not only a commuter route but also a must-do activity for visitors seeking an up-close look at the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Visiting Tips:

  • Address: The ferry departs from the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal at 4 South Street in Manhattan.
  • Opening Times: The ferry operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with departures every 30 minutes during peak hours.
  • Wheelchair Access: The ferry is wheelchair accessible. Elevators and ramps are available at both terminals to accommodate passengers with disabilities.
  • Tickets: The Staten Island Ferry is free! No tickets are required, but be prepared for crowds during rush hours.
  • Best Times to Ride: The journey is particularly enchanting during sunset and after dark, when the city lights create a magical atmosphere.
  • Crowds: Mid-morning and late afternoon are generally less crowded than rush hours. Weekdays are often quieter than weekends.
  • Photography: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone! Photo opportunities abound at every turn.
  • Amenities: Enjoy refreshments and snacks available for purchase onboard, or pack your own picnic to savor the experience.
  • Seating: Seating is available both indoors and outdoors, so you can choose your vantage point for optimal views.

As you sail across the waters, the Staten Island Ferry transforms from a mode of transport into an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re a local looking to rediscover your city or a visitor seeking an authentic NYC experience, the ferry promises a journey that’s as exhilarating as it is picturesque.

For more information and to plan your ferry adventure, visit the official website at Get ready to embark on a captivating voyage that will leave you with memories of the city’s enchanting beauty etched in your heart!