One of the best and cheapest things you can do in New York City is take the FREE Staten Island Ferry to the little visited fifth borough. Most people just exit the ferry after the forty-minute ride in Staten Island and get back on the Manhattan bound boat. You pass Governors Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Good stuff.
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When you think of NYC you think, expensive. However there is plenty to do for free in the Big Apple... instead of paying steep prices for tours to see the Liberty Lady and to get a view of the city from the sea, hop on the Staten Island Ferry. It runs several times daily from the south end of Manhattan and is FREE. You will head right by the statue of liberty and get a perfect view of the city!
The Staten Island Ferry is just another form of public transportation for Staten Island-ers, but for everyone else it’s a fun (and free! As opposed to $28 on the Ellis Island ferry) way to get to know New York City better.
The ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It leaves from Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and glides on the East River for about 15 minutes until the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island. Hot tip: Avoid rush hour. Real tourists (not cool ones like you and me) can be annoying and locals will get vicious. I suggest going as the sun sets on a warm Summer’s day to get the best view of Lady Liberty. Never have I ever seen a statue look so beautiful.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do in Staten Island (yet). Day or night. Most people coming from the city go straight back on the next ferry, but since every passenger must disembark the boat you might as well stay and have a beer.
We went to a bar called “River Dock Cafe” located in the ferry terminal and took advantage of their harbor-facing terrace. We had beers and some appetisers as the sun went down on the gorgeous Financial District skyline while echoes from a nearby baseball game acted as background noise. It was kind of romantic.
Don’t worry if you head back towards the city at night – the view is just as beautiful. New York City is all glitz and glamour in the dark.
The price of everything is always going up, up, up in New York City . . . with one exception. The Staten Island Ferry remains the best deal in the Big Apple: it's free, and has been since it started operating in 1905.
The 25-minute ride between Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan and St. George Terminal on Staten Island gives you THE best view of the Statue of Liberty, 24 hours a day. And unlike the paid forms of transportation in the city (we're looking at YOU, subways and buses!), the Staten Island Ferry has the best on-time record of all forms of city transit, so you won't miss out on other sights and activities.