Lower Manhattan has the one of the most amazing skylines around, and one of the best ways to see it – and lots of other things too – is from the Staten Island Ferry.
The ferry, which connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island, is a free 25-minute, five-mile trip that transports 70,000 passengers each day, most of who use it to commute to work. But it’s also one of New York’s top visitor attractions, offering spectacular views of New York Harbor and the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan, including a head-on view of One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest building in the country. Most impressive, however, is the stunning sight of the Statue of Liberty, holding her torch aloft in one hand and carrying the Declaration of Independence in the other. As the ferry glides past, passengers will be snapping pictures to their hearts’ content. Another landmark that, like the Statue of Liberty, symbolizes the freedom that characterizes America, is Ellis Island, the gateway for more than 12 million immigrants to the United States for over 60 years, from 1892 until 1954. The building that housed its Great Hall is now a museum, and is part of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island national monument.
The Staten Island Ferry operates 24/7, 365 days a year, with boats departing from the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan and from the St. George Terminal on Staten Island. For most of the day, they depart every 30 minutes, on the hour and half hour, and every 15 minutes during morning and evening rush hours. It’s best, of course, to go when the weather’s pleasant and not during rush hour (7-9 a.m. in the mornings and 5-7 p.m. in the evenings), for a pleasant, relaxing ride.